Osteoporosis occurs when bones become porous, brittle and likely to break. While some bone loss can be expected as part of the normal aging process, osteoporosis is a dangerous disease that affects millions of people every year, particularly women. In fact, half of women past menopause have or are at high risk of developing osteoporosis.
The good news is that bone density testing is quick, easy and painless, and Ballad Health offers many different treatments to reduce the risk of fractures.
Bone density tests (DEXA Scan)
Testing your bone density – how strong your bones are – is the only way to know if you have osteoporosis.
Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry scans or “DEXA scans” measure the density of bone material to determine if there is an increased risk of fracture or osteoporosis. Test results will be compared to that of a young person, when bone is at its strongest, and to the bone density of people your own age. This gives the physician a basis to determine if you are at risk of osteoporosis fractures. There are several ways to reduce your chance of fractures, and your physician can discuss these with you.
Are you at risk?
Your chances of developing osteoporosis are greater if you are female and answer "yes" to any of the following questions:
Do you have:
- A family history of osteoporosis?
- Chronic intestinal disorders?
- A sedentary lifestyle?
- Thin or small framed?
- Approaching or past menopause?
- Milk intolerant or have a low calcium intake?
- A cigarette smoker or drink alcohol in excess?
- Taking thyroid medication or steroid-based drugs for asthma, arthritis or cancer?
For more information about osteoporosis, treatment options and bone testing, ask your physician or call the National Osteoporosis Foundation at (800) 231-4222.
Where can I get a bone density test?
Bone Density Tests are available at the following Ballad Health locations throughout East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia: