How to Properly Test for and Diagnose Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become extremely weak, leaving the replacement of old bones with new ones nearly impossible to take place. While it can affect both men and women, females who are of – and past – the menopausal age are naturally at a higher risk. For this reason, it is strongly advised that women who are in perimenopause and menopause receive a proper osteoporosis screening to make sure that they are not falling ill to the damaging medical condition.
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
Women who have pain in their back, progressively worse posture (characterized as “stooped” when standing) and a steady loss of inches from their average height may be experiencing symptoms of osteoporosis. In addition, a more common – and very telltale – symptom of osteoporosis is a fractured spine, wrist or hip.
Who Is at Risk
As mentioned, men or women are able to get osteoporosis. However, there are more specific factors that put people at risk – many of which are inevitable, and things that cannot be avoided or changed. The following inevitable risk factors include being a female, of older age and white or Asian. Those also at risk include people who have a family history of osteoporosis, as well as those men and women who have a small body frame. Most significantly, going through menopause is large risk factor.
Diagnosing osteoporosis in our patients is simple, and can be done using dual x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). With a low exposure to radiation and a usual completion time of 10 to 20 minutes, this noninvasive test scan measures the bone density in a patient’s body – particularly the hip or spine. The procedure is painless, and can yield very accurate results; it has the ability to diagnose osteoporosis, tell whether or not you have lost bones, and can even predict whether or not other parts of your body are at risk for bone fractures. The type of DEXA scan we administer is the central DEXA – allowing you to lay undressed on a soft table, while the machine predicts fracture risk. Preparing for the DEXA test is easy – all you need to do is show up! However, if there is any chance you could be pregnant, let one of our physicians know as soon as possible – x-ray technology has proven to be harmful to the fetus.
If you have been trying to cope with symptoms relating to osteoporosis, contact our office for an appointment today – we will do the best we can to properly diagnose and test you for this medical condition.