A non-invasive, accurate, inexpensive way of detecting osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is not just a disease of the frail elderly. Osteoporosis is a chronic condition that occurs when there is a depletion of bone calcium and protein.
Osteoporosis doesn’t just impact elderly people. It’s a chronic condition that occurs when bone calcium and protein is depleted. Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mass, increased bone fragility and increased risk of bone fracture.
1 in 4 women have osteoporosis
The good news is that with early prevention and detection, as well as new treatments, osteoporosis doesn’t to be the debilitating disease that once immobilized and devastated your mother or grandmother. It is now possible to detect osteoporosis before a fracture and to build up bone mass even after it has been lost.
Who is at Risk of Osteoporosis
Twenty five million Americans have osteoporosis. About 80% are women. However, one out of every 40 men have osteoporosis. Some see evidence of this disease in their early 40s. The determining risk factors are:
- Advancing age
- Low calcium intake
- Female gender
- Low Vitamin D
- Caucasian or Asian
- Excessive alcohol
- Family history
- Excessive caffeine
- Small thin bones
- Sedentary lifestyle
How is osteoporosis detected?
Detection can be simple, quick and painless. Your doctor can complete a physical exam and order any needed lab test. Your doctor can also refer you to a painless, non-invasive bone densitometry (DXA) scan.
A bone density test (DXA) is a non-invasive, accurate and inexpensive way to determine a patient’s risk of breaking bones before a fracture. A DXA scan uses X-rays to measure how much calcium and other bone minerals are packed into a bone. The most commonly tested bones are the spine, hip and forearm. A DXA scan takes 15-30 minutes and requires a physician referral.
What are the benefits of a bone density scan?
A bone densitometry scan is a simple, accurate and inexpensive way of detecting osteoporosis. The procedure takes 15 – 30 minutes and may not require undressing. A bone densitometry scan:
- Can be beneficial for any age or gender
- Provides early detection that other tests miss
- Can measure multiple sites of the body to determine the most appropriate treatments
- Can estimate fracture risk
- Is easily administered with a low radiation dose that is roughly equivalent to a cross-country airline flight
How to prepare for a bone densitometry scan
- No solid pill containing calcium for 24 hours prior to the scan
- No IV contrast, barium studies or nuclear medicine studies for three weeks prior to the scan
How do I schedule a bone densitometry scan?
Your doctor can refer you for a bone density scan at WakeRad UNC REX. We recommend checking with your insurance carrier to make sure the cost of the scan is covered. Your doctor’s assessment of your risk factors will help determine coverage. WakeRad UNC REX adheres to the International Society of Clinical Densitometry (ISCD) guidelines in the performance and interpretation of DXA studies.
Can osteoporosis be prevented and treated?
It’s never too early to start preventing osteoporosis. With early detection, bone loss can be slowed and bone mass increased.
Prevention of osteoporosis:
- Balanced diet rich in calcium
- Regular weight-bearing exercise
- No smoking
- Limit alcohol intake
- Hormonal replacement therapy
- Prevention of falls
- Sufficient vitamin D
Treatments of osteoporosis:
- Vitamin D
- Estrogen – reduces bone loss and fractures
- Alendronate – alternative to Estrogen, increases bone mass
- Calcitonin – alternative to Alendronate, reduces vertebral fractures
Bone Density Scan with TBS
Wake Radiology UNC REX is the first outpatient provider in the Triangle to offer a trabecular bone score (TBS) as a new, add-on service with a standard bone density (DXA) scan. TBS predicts osteoporotic fractures independent of bone mineral density (BMD) and clinical risk factors. This data improves management in patients with osteopenia and secondary osteoporosis.
- SPEED & EFFICIENCY: Advanced DXA with TBS does not require additional imaging, time or radiation. The TBS is gathered during a routine DXA exam and takes 15-30 minutes.
- ADVANCED PRECISION: A TBS provides information about the quality of bone structure and provides a more reliable prediction of fracture risk than a standard DXA scan.
- DOCTOR REFERRAL NEEDED: Your doctor can refer you for an advanced bone density scan that adds TBS. Your doctor’s assessment of your risk factors will help determine insurance coverage.
What’s Your Risk?
1 in 4 women have osteoporosis. The good news is that with early prevention and detection, as well as new treatments, osteoporosis doesn’t to be the debilitating disease that once immobilized and devastated your mother or grandmother. It is now possible to detect osteoporosis before a fracture and to build up bone mass even after it has been lost.
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