Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones that causes bones to become weak and break easily. In the United States, of the estimated 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, more than 8 million are women 65 and older, but prevention starts when you are younger. No matter your age, you can take steps to build bone mass and prevent bone loss.
Reasons why women are most likely to get osteoporosis:
- Women usually have smaller, thinner, less dense bones than men.
- Women also lose more bone mass after menopause with low levels of the estrogen.
Symptoms of Osteoporosis:
You may not have any symptoms of osteoporosis until you break (fracture) a bone. A fracture can happen in any bone of the body. But fractures are most common in the hip, wrist, and spine.
Osteoporosis in the vertebrae can cause serious problems for women. A fracture in this area can happen during day-to-day activities like climbing stairs, lifting objects, or bending forward when you have osteoporosis.
Diagnosis of Osteoporosis:
Bone densitometry exam is used for early detection of osteoporosis by measuring minerals within your bones. “Since bones thin as you age, the threat of fractures becomes especially dangerous,” says Dr. Tariq Gill, chief of radiology at Columbia Memorial Health.
By interpreting the results of a bone densitometry scan against other women in the same age group, a doctor can proactively treat bone health before any accident or fall should occur. “The bone densitometry screening is not to make a diagnosis of thin bones, but to monitor your bone health to prevent catastrophic complications later on,” says Gill.
CMH’s bone densitometry scan can be completed in a quick 10 minutes. Patients don’t even have to change out of their clothes. They simply lay on a flat bed while the equipment moves over top of them. The data gathered by the software then creates a report that is interpreted by the radiologist, who will provide the assessment.
Before recommending a preventative bone densitometry scan, your doctor should complete a risk assessment for osteoporosis. Menopause is of course a primary contributor to thinning bones, but according to Gill, people who are diabetic, have kidney or lung issues, or regularly take medications like steroids or anti-epileptics can have a predisposition to osteoporosis.
Columbia Memorial Health’s medical imaging services are available to patients in Columbia and Greene counties at three locations—the hospital in Hudson, Catskill-based Greene Medical Imaging, and Valatie Medical Imaging. Patients can call (518) 828-8224 to make an imaging appointment at any of the three locations.