Osteoporosis

If you are at risk for osteoporosis or currently have this bone disease, HealthAlliance Hospital can help. 

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes the bones to become thinner and weaker over time, which increases the chances for a fracture. Bones in the spine and hip are particularly susceptible to fractures due to osteoporosis. Although women are four times more likely to develop osteoporosis, it can affect men as well.

HealthAlliance Hospital offers bone density tests, which is the standard test for diagnosing osteoporosis. The quick and painless test is performed on a machine called a bone densitometer and is very similar to having an X-ray performed while lying down. Most often the density of the spine and hip are measured. A bone density test measures the thickness of bones and can detect the effects of osteoporosis.

Exercise, medications, dietary supplements, and changes in diet and lifestyle can all help to minimize the effects of osteoporosis.

What Is Bone Density Testing?

The decision to test for bone mineral density (known as BMD testing) should be based on an individual's risk profile. BMD tests are very sensitive and can detect bone loss at an early stage. Standard X-rays of bones are not as sensitive and cannot detect bone loss until bone mass has decreased by 30 percent. Below are reasons to have a BMD test:

  • To confirm a diagnosis of osteoporosis
  • To detect low bone density before a bone fracture occurs
  • To establish a baseline for perimenopausal women who will soon lose the bone protective properties of estrogen due to menopause
  • To determine the rate of bone loss when the test is repeated over time
  • To monitor the effects of treatment over time to ensure the effectiveness of the selected treatment

When Is Bone Density Testing Recommended?

Testing is recommended for:

  • Postmenopausal women under age 65 who have one or more additional risk factors for osteoporosis (other than menopause)
  • Women aged 65 and older regardless of additional risk factors
  • Men over the age of 70
  • Adults who have a low-impact fracture 
  • Women who are considering therapy for osteoporosis if testing would change the decision
  • Women who have been on long-term hormone replacement therapy
  • Women and men on glucocorticoid therapy, such as aromatase inhibitors or Depo Provera
  • Diseases, conditions and medications associated with low bone mass or bone loss