Bone density testing at Baptist Hospital Northeast
Baptist Health La Grange's Diagnostic Services department offers bone density testing (or bone densitometry) using a DEXA scanner, a tool which is considered to be the gold standard in detection of osteoporosis. Bone densitometry measures the bone mineral and density content of the forearm, hips and spine -- the most common fracture sites for women with osteoporosis.
Conventional X-rays don't reveal any problems with bone density until you've lost at least 30 percent of your bone mass and it's too late for treatment to be of any benefit. Bone densitometry is much more sensitive and can be used to:
- Detect osteoporosis before you experience painful fractures, and
- See how well you are responding to hormone replacement therapy or other medicines used to slow bone loss or rebuild bone.
The health risks of osteoporosis, the silent crippler
Most people don't think twice about walking downstairs or standing up straight. But for the more than 25 million Americans who are affected by osteoporosis, everyday activities such as lifting a bag of groceries can cause pain or even fracture a bone.
Osteoporosis literally means "porous bone." The inside of healthy bone looks somewhat like a sponge. With osteoporosis, it's as if the holes in the sponge have become larger and more numerous, weakening the bone and making it more susceptible to fractures. As the condition worsens, broken bones may occur in the hip, spine or wrist. In fact, osteoporosis is responsible for as many as 300,000 hip fractures every year in the United States.
In older people, hip fractures can be devastating and often take a toll on families as well. Fifty percent of hip fracture patients will be disabled, many of them permanently. In fact, the lifetime risk of death due to hip fracture is comparable to that of breast cancer.
Because osteoporosis has no visible symptoms in the early stages, many people are unaware of their condition and its seriousness until they break a bone. That's why it's sometimes called the "silent crippler."
The cause of osteoporosis is an abnormally high loss of bone mass. In women, it most commonly occurs after menopause when bones lose the protective benefits of estrogen; however, certain medicines and diseases can cause bone loss in men as well as women.
Are you at risk?
Learning more about your risk of getting osteoporosis is the first step toward protecting yourself against it. Although men as well as women can develop osteoporosis, women are four times more likely to acquire it than men. In fact, the disorder affects nearly one-half of all post-menopausal women -- the largest group at risk for osteoporosis. Other risk factors that have to do with your heredity and lifestyle include:
- Being of Caucasian or Asian descent
- Family history of fractures caused by osteoporosis (hip fractures, wrist fractures, loss of height, dowager's hump)
- Early menopause
- Being small-boned and slender
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Excessive consumption of alcohol or caffeine
- Lack of calcium in your diet
Bone density testing at Baptist Health La Grange and Baptist Crestwood
If you're concerned about osteoporosis, talk to your doctor about having a bone density test at Baptist Health La Grange or at our outpatient facility in Crestwood. The test takes only about 10 minutes, is performed without any special preparation or discomfort, and involves a very small dose of radiation (about one-tenth of the radiation required for a chest X-ray).
For more information about bone density testing, call Diagnostic Imaging Services at (502) 222-3620. To schedule an appointment, call One Call scheduling at (502) 222-3939. Day and evening appointments are available.