May is National Osteoporosis Awareness Month, a condition that causes loss of bone density and strength. Its name comes from Latin for “porous bones”, meaning that osteoporosis increases the size of the spaces between what makes up bones, causing the bone to lose strength and density. In addition, the outside of the bone grows weaker and thinner.
Osteoporosis can occur in people of any age, but it’s more common in older adults, especially women. More than 53 million people in the United States either have osteoporosis or are at high risk of developing it but there are tests such as bone scans that help diagnose it quickly and effectively.
People with osteoporosis are at a high risk of fractures, or bone breaks while doing routine activities such as standing or walking. The most commonly affected bones are the ribs, hips, and the bones in the wrists and spine.
Bone density test for diagnosis
To check for osteoporosis, your doctor will review your medical history and do a physical exam. They may also run tests of your blood and urine to check for conditions that may cause bone loss or weak bones.
If your doctor thinks you may have osteoporosis or that you’re at risk of developing it, they’ll likely suggest a bone density test.
This test is called bone densitometry, or dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). It uses X-rays to measure the density of the bones in your wrists, hips, or spine. These are the three areas most at risk of osteoporosis. This painless test can take from 10 to 30 minutes. DEXA scans are also useful in detecting and diagnosing bone cancer or bone fractures.
The early stages of osteoporosis don’t cause any symptoms or warning signs. In most cases, people with osteoporosis don’t know they have the condition until they have a fracture.
If symptoms do appear, some of the earlier ones may include:
- receding gums
- weakened grip strength
- weak and brittle nails
If you don’t have symptoms but have a family history of osteoporosis, talking to your doctor can help you assess your risk.
To book a scan, visit us at Medmo.com. Medmo helps people schedule radiology imaging tests – such as MRI, CT scans, PET, and more – at nearby accredited centers and identify the payment solution that works best for them.