If your doctor is concerned about your bone health, they may do an osteoporosis screening. Osteoporosis is the thinning of bone over time. Having thin bones increases your risk of fractures, especially the hips, spine, and wrists. Everyone begins to lose bone after 65, but for people over 50 with high-risk factors, the process may start much earlier. Continue reading to find out why a DEXA scan is an excellent diagnostic tool.
When to See the Doctor for Osteoporosis Screening
Unfortunately, without screening, you probably won’t find out until your bones are very fragile. A broken bone in the spine, hip, wrist, or pelvis caused by very little force is a sure sign. You may notice your posture is stooped or that you seem shorter than you used to. It’s not your imagination. Small fractures of the spine may only cause discomfort and be mistaken for back strain. As the vertebrae compress, you lose height and start to slump.
The best way to prevent these injuries is to have an osteoporosis screening. You should be screened if you’re over 65. If you have high-risk factors such as being female, are post-menopausal, or male with low testosterone, you should also get checked. If you smoke, drink, have a poor diet, or have a family history of osteoporosis, you should also ask your doctor about screening.
The DEXA Scan
The best osteoporosis screening is done with a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) exam. This non-invasive bone density scan will show how much bone thinning has occurred.
DEXA uses a special X-ray, similar to a CT scan, but with a much lower dose of radiation. It’s important to remember all X-rays contain radiation, even the ones that check for broken bones. DEXA is entirely safe and is an excellent choice for checking your bone density with highly detailed bone images. Regular X-rays don’t give enough information to make a thorough diagnosis.
All you have to do for your DEXA scan is lie on a table, hold very still for a moment while the image is taken, and you’re done. It’s completely painless, completely safe, and the best way to prevent future disabling injuries like broken hips and pelvises through early detection.
Treatment of Osteoporosis
Prevention is the best strategy for slowing bone loss. Eating healthy foods and performing weight-bearing exercises support bone health. If this isn’t enough, your doctor may prescribe medications along with a well-being regimen to strengthen bones.
It’s essential to work with a specialist to diagnose your degree of osteoporosis properly and design a program to slow it down. You don’t want to undertake activities your body isn’t ready for. Call the Internal Medicine Diagnostic Center at (281) 252-8600 to book your osteoporosis screening today.