Bone density testing detects and helps prevent osteoporosis
The Alliance and Grapevine OBGYN teams at Women’s Integrated Healthcare use bone density testing to diagnose and help prevent the spread of osteoporosis. Our all-female team of physicians also uses this type of testing to track the treatment of osteoporosis and other conditions that cause bone loss, as well as to asses a patient’s risk for developing bone fractures.
Osteoporosis is a serious disease that causes bones to become thin, brittle and weak, increasing the risk of fractures. It often occurs after menopause and attacks quietly and without early warning signs or symptoms. Left undetected and untreated, osteoporosis can lead to chronic pain and decreased mobility, making even the simplest tasks, such as walking, difficult. Severe cases can lead to the need for long-term care and even death.
Our Alliance and Grapevine OBGYN team will recommend when to start bone density testing
Bone density testing – or bone densitometry – is a procedure that determines how strong or fragile your bones are. A DXA scan is the X-ray technology used to measure the density of bone minerals, such as calcium, located in a specific area of your bones. The bones most commonly tested are those at greatest risk of fracture from osteoporosis – lower back or spine, hip and forearm.
Our experienced Alliance and Grapevine OBGYN teams recommend that women 65 and older begin bone density testing and retest every two years. However, osteoporosis can strike at any age. If you are younger than 65, certain risk factors make it necessary to start testing earlier.
- A family history of osteoporosis or hip fractures
- Conditions or disorders that increase the risk of developing osteoporosis, such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Taking medications that are known to cause bone loss
- Low body weight (small and thin)
- Daily alcohol use
Bone density testing is a simple procedure for the patient. DXA scans do not require any significant prep, and you can even eat regularly the morning of the scan. The machine is open unlike a closed MRI, and you will not need to take any medications or undergo any injections for this test. DXA scans take just a few minutes to complete, and the radiation from the test is just a fraction of that in a chest X-ray.
Treatment plans help strengthen bones and prevent fractures
Once the test is completed, your Alliance or Grapevine OBGYN will give you a T-score for each site measured that compares your numbers with the average female of the same age range. Z-scores tell us how many testing areas fell above or below average. Lower or negative scores can indicate an increased risk of osteoporosis or an actual diagnosis of this disease.
If either of these diagnoses is made, your Alliance or Grapevine OBGYN will recommend a treatment plan to strengthen your bones and prevent fractures or further weakening of your bones. When necessary, we will prescribe bone-building medications and then carefully monitor your progress and retest bone density as needed.
Be proactive when it comes to your bone health. Our team of skilled physicians at Women’s Integrated Healthcare can provide you with the information and testing you need to prevent the bone loss and fractures that can accompany osteoporosis. We encourage women from Grapevine, Keller and the surrounding areas to call our OBGYN team to set up an appointment today.