Osteoporosis is a condition that reduces the strength of your bones, causing them to become brittle and prone to fractures. It is usually the result of hormonal changes or a calcium/vitamin D deficiency. Approximately 50% of women over the age of 50 have osteoporosis and are at risk of an osteoporosis-related fracture, which can lead to a loss of mobility and independence.
A woman’s risk of hip fracture alone is equal to the combined risk of developing breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer. Up to 20% of women who suffer hip fractures die within one year of the fracture. Post-menopausal women are in the highest risk group. Other risk factors for osteoporosis include:
Caucasian or Asian descent
Thin or small build
Family history of the disease
Early menopause (before age 45)
Some medications (including steroids and thyroid hormones)
Moderate to heavy alcohol use
Diet lacking in calcium and vitamin D
If you think you may be at risk for osteoporosis, ask your physician about a bone density test. Your doctor can schedule an exam to help get your osteoporosis screening underway. You can also explore other types of imaging and radiology services offered at Hunt Regional.
A bone density test is a simple, painless and non-invasive procedure that can detect osteoporosis. During this test, an enhanced form of X-ray technology, called a Bone Densitometer, is used to measure the bone density of your spine, wrist and/or hip. The results of your exam can also determine the severity of bone loss and assist in monitoring your response to treatment.