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July 2010 | 0 Comments | Print

DEXA: The best way to determine your risk for osteoporosis

Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans – also called bone density scans – measure how much energy your bones absorb from low-dose X-rays. From this information, your doctor can tell how dense your bones are, detect osteoporosis, and assess your risk for bone fracture.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a potentially crippling disease characterized by the loss of bone tissue and susceptibility to fracture. The disease afflicts 25 million Americans, 80 percent of whom are women. Osteoporosis does not produce symptoms until a fracture occurs. A woman’s risk of a hip fracture equals her combined risk of developing breast, uterine or ovarian cancer.

Are you at risk?

Your chances of developing osteoporosis are greater if you are female and…

You are:

  • Light skinned
  • Thin or small framed
  • Approaching or past menopause
  • Milk intolerant or have a low calcium intake
  • A cigarette smoker or drink alcohol in excess
  • Taking thyroid medication or steroid-based drugs for asthma, arthritis or cancer; this includes individuals suffering from hyper-thyroidism and hyper-parathyroidism

You have/had:

  • A family history of osteoporosis
  • Early, natural or surgical menopause (i.e. hysterectomy)
  • Long-term steroid use (for conditions such as asthma and arthritis)
  • Chronic intestinal disorder (i.e. malabsorption syndrome, post-gastrectomy)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sedentary lifestyle
How is a DEXA scan performed?

DEXA is a safe, quick and painless test that is typically performed while you lie on an X-ray table and an X-ray machine scans your lower back and hips.

Based on your test results, your physician can suggest treatment options from exercise and lifestyle changes, nutritional supplements or medication. The goal of diagnosis and treatment is to prevent fractures.

The Christ Hospital offers two DEXA testing locations with convenient parking and appointment times. Your physician’s office can call to schedule your appointment or you may call as long as you have a written order from your doctor. To schedule an appointment at either location, call 513-585-2668.

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