If you are a woman approaching age 65, you might be wondering when you need to have an osteoporosis screening and what this test entails. The U.S. Preventive Service Task Force recommends that women older than age 65 and younger women at high risk for osteoporosis have a bone density screening every five years.
The most common type of bone density screening is called dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, or DEXA. The DEXA scanner is a low-radiation machine that produces two separate X-ray beams with different energy levels. The test then scans the hip and spine to determine how much energy passes through, which indicates the density of the bone in those areas.
Occasionally, the DEXA test can also be done using the forearm. The DEXA scan is a non-invasive procedure that can usually be performed in less than 20 minutes on an outpatient basis.
Those who have a healthy bone density are assessed to be at normal risk for fractures. People at moderate risk for fractures have a condition called osteopenia, or low bone mass, which is often a precursor to osteoporosis. Those with osteoporosis are at a high risk for fractures, with bones that are weak and porous.
The results of your osteoporosis screening give you important information about your bone health so that you can help prevent fracture and injury. Loss of bone mass is difficult to reverse, so prevention is the best way to avoid developing osteoporosis. If you are found to be at risk, our doctor may recommend increased calcium intake, vitamin D supplements and a regimen of weight-bearing exercise geared to keeping bones strong.
Women who have developed osteoporosis may be prescribed medication to control the condition. However, since every woman is different, our doctor will help find the treatment regimen that’s best for your unique condition.
The National Institutes of Health recommends that women consume between 1,000 and 1,200 mg of calcium each day. Calcium-rich foods include low-fat dairy products, green and leafy vegetables, cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower, salmon and tofu.
At Associates in Women’s Health, we offer in-office osteoporosis screening, as well as testing for osteopenia. During a consultation at our office in Cincinnati, we can help you determine whether or not an osteoporosis screening is appropriate for your case. This simple test could help you to prevent further bone density loss in the future. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to learn more about our gynecological services.