Brookings Health System

Osteoporosis Screening

older attractive woman resting her face on her armsBone densiometry safely, accurately, and painlessly measures your bone mineral density and gauges your risk for osteoporosis.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis gradually thins and weakens bones, often resulting in crippling and painful fractures. It affects 44 million Americans and results in 1 million hip, spine and wrist fractures annually.

Osteoporosis signs rarely show until a patient experiences significant bone loss. Visible symptoms include height loss and curvature along the upper back. If not prevented or if left untreated, osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone breaks.

Osteoporosis Risk Factors

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, women are four more times more likely than men to develop the disease. Other risk factors include:

  • Caucasian
  • Advanced Age
  • History of Bone Fracture
  • A Small, Thin Frame
  • Family History of Osteoporosis
  • Removal of the Ovaries
  • Early Menopause
  • Low Calcium Diet
  • Lack of Exercise
  • Eating Disorders
  • Certain Medications
  • Alcohol and Tobacco Use

Osteoporosis is preventable and treatable. Thanks to technology, physicians are better able to detect and treat bone loss in the very early stages. The first step in the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis starts with an objective measurement of your bone density.

Bone Densitometry/DXA

A bone densitometer measures bone mineral density using small amounts of x-ray called “dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry”, or DXA. In just 30 seconds, it helps gauge a patient’s risk for osteoporotic fractures.

The bone densitometer measures a patient’s spine and hip, where most osteoporotic fractures occur. The test compares a patient’s bone quality to that of a young adult at peak bone strength. It also compares the results to people of the patient’s same age. Physicians can follow a patient’s bone density over time and use the tests to determine the effects of osteoporosis treatment.

A physician referral for bone densitometry is required. For more information on osteoporosis screening, call Imaging Services at (605) 696-8056.

Watch & Learn

Jan van der Zalm knew osteoporosis was a possibility – especially since her mom had serious complications from low bone density. Because of this, she elected to have a bone density scan. She shares how this quick and easy scan helped her doctor provide preventative treatments in the video below.