The first thing to know is that if you’ve been told that you have dense… Read More
Bone Density Screening
Available at these locations:
If you need a bone density scan in Buffalo or throughout Western New York, the medical professionals at Southtowns Radiology will provide a caring experience and reliable diagnostics. Like other organs in the body, bones are constantly changing. Throughout childhood and young adulthood, bones grow in strength and in size. Around the age of 30, bones reach their peak strength and then naturally become weaker with age.
Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become weak to the point of breaking. This weakening may be due to aging or caused by other factors that combine with age. Symptoms of osteoporosis do not occur until a lot of bone strength is lost. Visible symptoms may include loss of height, along with curvature of the upper back. Osteoporosis also can result in a crippling and painful fracture, occurring most often in the hip, back or wrist.
Important risk factors for osteoporosis include:
- Advanced age
- History of bone fracture
- Small, thin frame
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Removal of the ovaries
- Early menopause
- Low calcium diet
- Lack of exercise
- Eating disorders
- Medicines (such as steroids or anticonvulsants)
- Alcohol and tobacco use
The bone densitometer is like a large examination table. It is padded and comfortable. Your name, age, height, weight and ethnicity will be entered into the computer before your test. This information is used to compare your results to a normal reference group. During the bone density test procedure, you will be asked to lie on your back, remaining in your normal clothing in most cases. Belt buckles, metal or thick plastic buttons and metal jewelry will need to be removed from the region being examined. The operator will position your arms and legs for the test, which is painless and typically takes 10 minutes. You just need to lie still and breathe normally.
A bone densitometer measures bone mineral density (BMD). The amount of bone mineral relates directly to bone density. During the bone density scan procedure, the bone densitometer uses small amounts of X-ray to measure BMD and produce images of the spine, hip or even the whole body. The technical term for the method is “dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry,” or DEXA. The spine and hip are measured because that is where most osteoporotic fractures occur.
A bone densitometry test or a bone density scan is an aid to doctors in the diagnosis of osteoporosis. The test compares your bone to that of a “young adult” at peak bone strength (T-score). The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed categories that define the amount of bone loss:
Your T-score, combined with other risk factors, will enable your doctor to estimate what your risk of a hip fracture or other major osteoporosis-related fracture will be in the next 10 years. This information will help your doctor determine what course of action should be taken. The bone densitometry test is also useful in following bone changes. Your doctor may suggest follow-up tests to detect change over time.
Additional Osteoporosis Resources
The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) is one of the leading sources of information about osteoporosis and bone measurements.
Contact the NOF:
National Osteoporosis Foundation
1150 17th St. N.W., Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20036-4603
Phone: (202) 223-2226