Osteoporosis Screening with DEXA

Osteoporosis Screening with DEXA

Osteoporosis Screening with DEXA

Peninsula Diagnostic Imaging provides osteoporosis screening with DEXA, a safe, painless, and non-invasive procedure. This test can be scheduled alone, or in coordination with other examinations at Peninsula Diagnostic Imaging. All exams are conducted by certified radiology technologists and reviewed by board-certified physicians with specialized training in osteoporosis diagnosis. Peninsula Diagnostic Imaging is ISCD (International Society for Clinical Densitometry) certified.

Who is at Risk for Osteoporosis?

  • All women over 65 years of age
  • All men over 70 years of age
  • Peri/postmenopausal women with family history of osteoporosis or personal history of fracture
  • Women with irregular menstrual cycles or who have had total hysterectomies (including removal of ovaries)
  • Women with low estrogen levels, anorexia nervosa, long periods of amenorrhea
  • Individuals with a history of nontraumatic fracture or who have a family history of osteoporosis and fractures
  • Individuals with x-rays that show low bone mass
  • Anyone who smokes, has excessive alcohol intake, or leads an inactive lifestyle
  • Anyone for whom steroids (prednisone), thyroid medication, or some anticonvulsants have been prescribed

What to expect during your visit.

A gown will be provided to you for your privacy, but we also recommend that you wear a two-piece outfit for comfort. The procedure takes approximately 20-30 minutes.

You will be asked to lie perfectly still on a table while a moveable arm passes over the area to be tested (for example, arms, spine or hips). The test is safe, painless and non-invasive.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a progressive disease in which the bones lose their strength, become more fragile and likely to fracture. Osteoporosis is called the silent disease because it progresses without symptoms until fractures occur. Osteoporosis is not a disease that suddenly affects the elderly, but a progressive disease that often begins as a woman reaches menopause.

  • Osteoporosis is called the silent disease, since it may progress without symptoms and may not be diagnosed until it is in an advanced state and one or more fractures have occurred.
  • Osteoporosis is a major health problem for millions of postmenopausal women and one fourth as many men. It affects more women than heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer combined.

Osteoporotic Fractures

  • Osteoporosis results in over 1.5 million fractures (or broken bones) annually, most of which are in women, and many have long-term consequences.
  • 700,000 of these fractures per year occur in the spine.
  • 500,000 fractures per year involve the hip.

Hip fractures almost always require hospitalization and major surgery, and impair a person’s ability to walk unassisted and may cause prolonged or permanent disability. Approximately 50% of patients with hip fractures die within one year.

Spinal vertebral fractures have serious consequences, including loss of height, severe back pain and back deformity.

Our skeletal system is made up of bony structures, with complex living tissues undergoing constant formation and remodeling of bone. Bones are constantly changing and are greatly affected by diet and exercise. Until the age of 34, bone mass increases, then as a natural part of the aging process, bone begins to lose its strength and break down faster than new bone can be formed.

In women, bone loss accelerates in the several years before and after menopause due to decreased estrogen, which protects bone mass. Critical years of building bone mass are during youth, adolescence, and early adulthood. Adequate calcium and weight-bearing exercise are imperative.

Devastating toll of osteoporotic fracture:

  • Lifetime risk of death from osteoporotic fracture is comparable to that of breast cancer.
  • With hip fracture alone, there is a 20% excess mortality or death rate within one year of the event, with approximately 50% of survivors of hip fractures being permanently disabled and 20% requiring long-term nursing care.

Prevalence of osteoporosis:

  • 25 million Americans are affected with osteoporosis, 20 million of whom are women.
  • Nearly 77% of women with osteoporosis are not diagnosed and therefore not treated.

Bone loss and fracture risk progresses over time:

  • Bone mass in women peaks at around age 30-35 and declines thereafter.
  • Approximately 50% of women over age 50 have osteoporosis.

Bone loss and fracture risk:

  • Since the association between low bone mass and fracture risk is strong, early recognition and diagnosis of osteoporosis before fracture occurs is imperative. This is especially true in asymptomatic patients whose fractures may go unrecognized, such as women with height loss or kyphosis.
  • Many patients are asymptomatic and are at risk for fracturing due to their low bone mass. Osteoporosis in these asymptomatic patients can only be diagnosed by a DEXA or other bone density test.

Standard x-ray diagnosis of osteoporosis:

  • Standard x-rays show bone loss only when at least 30% of the bone mass is already gone.
  • Standard x-rays can confirm the diagnosis of a vertebral fracture.