Osteoporosis screening is used in certain segments of the population to help treat bone loss before it results in a fracture that can be hard to heal from and can cause subsequent fractures. If you fit into any of the categories below, it may be time to ask your doctor about a DEXA scan.
What is DEXA?
A DEXA scan, also known as dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, is the type of specialized x-ray that can measure bone density. This type of osteoporosis screening is non-invasive and usually very quick. The scans are usually taken of the lumbar spine as well as each hip. You should let the x-ray technician know if you have had a contrast injection, a barium test, you have taken a calcium supplement in the last 24 hours, or if you may be pregnant.
If you are a woman who is 65 years or older, or you are now post-menopause, it is important to undergo an osteoporosis screening. This is especially true if you are 5’ 7” or taller, or you are very slender, weighing 125 pounds or less. These can increase your chances of significant bone loss.
Conditions Requiring Osteoporosis Screening
Anyone, male or female, should ask about osteoporosis screening if you have any medical conditions that are associated with bone loss. This could be a thyroid issue or even Type 1 Diabetes. Those with liver disease or kidney disease should also be screened.
There are certain medications that can cause or worsen bone loss. Steroids such as prednisone, used over a long period of time can cause trouble and so can high-dose thyroid replacement meds or even some anti-seizure medications. Be sure to ask your doctor if any of the medications you are on will require an osteoporosis screening, especially if you also fall into one of the other categories listed here.
If osteoporosis has been found in your family medical history, especially on the mother’s side, you want to be screened regularly. An osteoporosis screening may also be necessary if there is evidence of it shown in a typical x-ray.
It is vital to speak with your doctor about the need for an osteoporosis screening if you fit the requirements listed above. However, your doctor may also want a baseline scan to be able to compare later results with. The Internal Medicine Diagnostic Center can provide quick and painless osteoporosis screenings should your doctor recommend it.