What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become porous, gradually making them weaker and brittle. It is a “silent” disease. It occurs without symptoms. You may not know until a bone becomes so weak it breaks.
The time to find out if you have osteoporosis is before a bone breaks.
Risk factors of Osteoporosis
- Advanced age
- Estrogen deficiency
- Lack of calcium in diet
- Small bone structure
- Caucasian or Asian decent
- Certain medications, such as steroid and thyroid hormone
- Too little exercise
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Too much alcohol
- Anorexia or bulimia
- Low testosterone levels in men
- Too much caffeine
About the examination
Your bone densitometry test should take approximately 30-40 minutes or less. Do not wear clothes with zippers or metal. A sweat suit is ideal. If you take daily calcium supplement, do not take it the day of your examination.
Your bone density scan will be analyzed by a rheumatologist certified in bone densitometry.
Results of your bone scan will be sent to you as well as your primary care physician if you provide their name.
How does the bone densitometer work?
The bone densitometer uses small amounts of x-ray to produce images of the spine, hip, or even the whole body. Even though x-rays are used, the amount absorbed by the patient is only about 1/10th of that received from a chest x-ray.
Caution: Even though the x-ray dose from the bone densitometry test is very low, please inform the operator if you are pregnant or might be pregnant!