The health care profession has made great strides with regard to women's bone health -- by providing better tools to anticipate and detect problems and better knowledge for bone disease prevention. Since good bone health is a defining portion of women's health care, we offer bone density scanning right here in our office. With our certification and state-of-the art equipment, we strive to serve the complete spectrum of women's health needs in one place.
The bone density test
Bone density is an indicator of bone health. It is recommended that post-menopausal women have regular bone density assessments. The bone density test can:
- detect low bone mass which can increase your risk for fractures
- confirm a diagnosis of osteoporosis
- determine the rate of bone loss when repeated over time
- monitor the effects of treatment over time
What you can expect during the exam
During the test, you lay flat on a large padded exam table. You remain fully clothed for the test; however, we ask that you do not wear metal jewelry, zippers, buckles, button or belts during the exam.
A scanner arm passes over your spine and hips. As the scanner arm moves, a dual beam of low energy x-rays pass through your body to produce images of your spine and hips.
This produces a very accurate measurement of your bone mineral content (BMC) or bone mineral density (BMD).
Most exams take about 20 minutes.
How the test helps us determine your fracture risk
The bone densitometry test provides information about your own risk of bone fracture in the same way a cholesterol test indicates risk of heart attack. A diagnosis of osteopenia or osteoporosis cannot predict a fracture, just as a cholesterol test cannot predict a heart attack. Instead, it means that the risk of having a fracture is higher than that of normal bones.
Your test results combined with other factors give your overall risk factor.
There are a number of ways to reduce your risk of fracture. Your doctor may suggest a number of steps including exercise, changes in diet, hormone therapy, or other medicines known to build bone strength.