Using DEXA to Help Patients Be Bone Strong!
Even though today’s aging adults remain more active and live longer than any generation before, most still experience issues with bone health as the years progress. To help monitor potential issues and prevent broken bones, Desert Radiology urges older Southern Nevadans to take the proper steps for assessing their risk of osteoporosis.
Many people know of this bone disease and how it causes bones to become weak and brittle, making them more prone to breaking. However, some might not realize how common — and how serious —osteoporosis can be.
Roughly 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, and one in four men will break a bone in their lifetime as a result, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF).
At a higher risk, one in two women will experience this kind of break, making the incidence rate with women higher than heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer combined.
This doesn’t only affect elderly people. Roughly half of all adults ages 50 and over currently face the risk of breaking a bone due to diminished bone health, according to the NOF. Osteoporosis occurs among women and men of all races, as aging human bodies can’t create new bone fast enough to replace the loss of old bone.
To help with monitoring bone health, Desert Radiology offers DEXA (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) scans. This technology quickly measures the body’s bone mineral density, to detect if an individual poses risk for osteoporosis, fractures, or breaks.
Painless and simple, the DEXA exam uses two X-ray beams to scan an individual’s body, which doesn’t even require undressing. The scan calculates and compares the difference between the patient’s bone density and that of a healthy young adult, this is called the T score. DEXA also finds the bone density difference between the patient and someone of the same age — this is referred to as the Z score. These scores combined determine a person’s risk for osteoporosis.
The NOF identifies the DEXA scan as the best way to diagnose osteoporosis and create a treatment plan. Desert Radiology encourages Las Vegas Valley residents to speak with their primary care doctors about the optimal time to undergo this exam.
This can prove highly important, as people can’t feel their bones growing weaker, the NOF states. Many people don’t discover they have osteoporosis until a bone breaks.
Fortunately, there are a variety of steps to prevent and manage osteoporosis, such as:
- Performing weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises regularly
- Consuming the recommended amount of calcium and vitamin D every day from foods and/or vitamins
- Limiting alcohol intake, as consuming two or more alcoholic drinks a day increases the risk of osteoporosis
- Taking any prescribed medications for osteoporosis
By monitoring and promoting bone health, Southern Nevadans can look forward to many active years ahead.