Bone mineral density testing, also called a DXA scan, measures bone strength by assessing the amount of bone mass in your hips and spine. It compares your measurements to those of a young adult with idea bone mass and to those of a person of your age and gender. Using your score, your Forest healthcare doctor can then recommend treatment and/or exercise to preserve bone mass and help prevent fractures.
Over 44 million Americans have lower than normal bone mass. Of those Americans, 10 million have progressed to osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become thin and brittle. The longer osteoporosis goes untreated, the greater the risk of fractures. Bone mineral density testing is painless and uses less than 1/10 of the radiation in a standard chest x-ray. All women over 65 years and men over 65 years with risk factors should be tested. Women younger than 65 years with risk factors should also be tested.
- Recent falls or fractures
- Low body weight
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Low calcium intake
- Certain medications including corticosteroids or conditions such as thyroid disease
Check with your Forest Healthcare physician to see if you should have a bone mineral density test.