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Bone Density Scan (DEXA)

Defying age

Digital Mammography at Somerset Obstetrics and Gynecology

As people age, our bones can lose their strength. Osteoporosis, a condition affecting the density of the bones, has stricken over 30 million Americans. These people are more susceptible to bone fractures and other bone conditions due to decreased bone density. Osteoporosis is treatable but first you have to be diagnosed. The Bone Density Scan, also known as DEXA, is key to diagnosis.

Schedule your Bone Density Scan (DEXA) at SOGA

At SOGA, we have a digital bone density analysis that is painless and safe. Using the information obtained from this test, we are able to assess the current state of your bones and suggest a plan of action for treating or preventing bone loss. We believe that your best life deserves the best physical condition, and knowing your body’s bony foundation is the basis for mobility and independence. You can contact us at either of our convenient offices in Bridgewater (908) 722-2900, or Hillsborough (908) 874-5900 to speak with our staff or schedule an appointment.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a gradual thinning and weakening of the bones. It is often called the “silent disease,” as there are rarely signs until a lot of bone has been lost. Visible symptoms may include loss of height along with curvature of the upper back. Osteoporosis also can result in a crippling and painful fracture, occurring most often in the hip, back, or wrist.

What are the risk factors?

  • female
  • a low calcium diet
  • caucasian
  • lack of exercise
  • advanced age
  • eating disorders
  • removal of the ovaries
  • a history of bone fracture
  • certain medicines
    (such as steroids or anticonvulsants)
  • a small thin frame
  • a family history of osteoporosis
  • alcohol and tobacco use
  • early menopause

How does a bone densitometer work?

A bone densitometer measures bone mineral density (BMD). The amount of bone mineral relates directly to bone density. The bone densitometer uses small amounts of x-ray to measure BMD. The technical term for the method is “dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry”, or DXA. The spine and hip are measured because that is where most osteoporotic fractures occur.

As people age, our bones can lose their strength. Osteoporosis, a condition affecting the density of the bones, has stricken over 30 million Americans. These people are more susceptible to bone fractures and other bone conditions due to decreased bone density. Osteoporosis is treatable but first you have to be diagnosed. The Bone Density Scan, also known as DEXA, is key to diagnosis.

Preventing bone loss

At SOGA, we have a digital bone density analysis that is painless and safe. Using the information obtained from this test, we are able to assess the current state of your bones and suggest a plan of action for treating or preventing bone loss. We believe that your best life deserves the best physical condition, and knowing your body's bony foundation is the basis for mobility and independence.

Who is at Risk?

Age is an important risk factor. Everyone, both men and women, loses bone strength as they grow older. Women have higher risk for osteoporosis than men do as women often have smaller, thinner frames. Women also are affected by the change-of-life, known as menopause. After menopause, women produce less of a hormone called estrogen. Estrogen helps protect women against bone loss.

What is fracture risk?

A diagnosis of osteoporosis cannot predict a bone fracture, just as high cholesterol cannot predict a heart attack. Instead, it means that the risk of having a fracture is higher than that for normal bones.

Knowing your risk of fracture is important. There are a number of ways to prevent osteoporosis, and to reduce your risk of fracture. Your doctor may suggest a number of steps including exercise, changes in diet, hormone therapy, or other medicines known to build bone strength.

Like other organs in the body, bones are constantly changing. Throughout childhood and young adulthood, bones grow in strength and in size. Around the age of 30, bones reach their peak strength and then naturally become weaker with age. Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become weak to the point of breaking.

This weakening may be due to aging, or caused by other factors that combine with age. Symptoms of osteoporosis do not occur until a lot of bone strength is lost. The most visible symptoms may include loss of height, along with curvature of the upper back. Osteoporosis also can result in a crippling and painful fracture, occurring most often in the hip, back, or wrist.

What will a bone density test be like?

The bone densitometer is like a large examination table. The patient will be asked to lie on their back. In most cases patients are allowed to stay in their normal clothing, and the test typically takes about ten minutes. Even though x-rays are used to perform a bone density test, the amount absorbed by the patient is only about 1/10th of that received from a chest x-ray. The x-ray dose from the bone densitometry test is comparable to the naturally occurring radiation we are exposed to in one week. Caution: Even though the x-ray dose from the bone densitometry test is very low, please inform the operator if you are pregnant or might be pregnant before your test!

Are there other tests?

Ultrasound can also be used to measure the status of the bone. Biochemical tests may be used for additional information in some cases. Where can I get more information about bone measurements and osteoporosis? The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) is one of the leading sources of information about osteoporosis and bone measurements.

Why body composition using DXA?

Body composition measurements with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) can, with accuracy and precision, look beyond weight and traditional body mass index (BMI) to determine and monitor distribution of body fat, bone, and lean muscle mass. Body composition DXA exams can provide useful regional and total body information to healthcare professionals in their management of conditions where the condition itself, or its treatment, can affect the relative amounts of fat and lean tissue.

Possible indications for the test

  • Obesity and weight management
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Diet and exercise regimens
  • Sports
  • AIDS/HIV
  • Chronic renal failure
  • Cystic fibrosis

Please contact our Bridgewater or Hillsborough office to schedule a bone density scan.