Osteoporosis affects millions of men and women each year, causing the bones to become brittle and weak. This common condition has no symptoms, and many patients become aware of it only after a fracture. To help residents of Hunterdon County in New Jersey avoid fractures and maintain strong, healthy bones, Hunterdon Radiological Associates offers bone densitometry exams. This medical imaging can identify osteoporosis to guide treatment and minimize further bone loss.
The Value of Bone Densitometry
Bone mass is constantly lost and replaced throughout our lives. Yet as we age, this process slows down, and bone mass replacement can’t keep pace with loss. This can lead to osteoporosis, especially among women. Because this condition is so widespread, it’s recommended that all women over age 65 receive annual bone densitometry tests.
In addition to gender, other risk factors for osteoporosis include:
- A family history of osteoporosis
- A small or slight body frame
- Chronic liver disease
- Excessive use of alcohol or tobacco
- Hormonal or intestinal disorders
- Low calcium intake
- Eating disorders
- Weight loss and other gastrointestinal surgeries
- The use of steroid medications
- Celiac disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- And more…
Measuring the mineral content of the bones is the best way to diagnose osteoporosis. At Hunterdon Radiological Associates, we use a non-invasive procedure called bone densitometry or bone DEXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) to assess the bones’ mineral content. This information helps physicians devise treatment plans and enables patients to take active measures to improve bone health.
Preparing for Your Bone Densitometry Exam
Before your bone densitometry procedure, ask your doctor about any necessary preparations. In general, patients should follow these instructions:
- Do not take calcium supplements on the day of your test, as they may interfere with results.
- Wear clothing without metal buttons, snaps, zippers, or other metal components.
- Alert the technologist if you’ve recently had a barium exam or medical imaging that requires the injection of high-contrast material, as these substances may affect your results.
If questions arise, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or contact our office before your appointment.
What to Expect During a Bone Densitometry Exam
There’s no need to feel anxious about a bone density scan. The procedure is fast and painless, and the radiation levels used are safe for patient health. When you arrive at Hunterdon Radiological Associates for an exam, you can expect the following process:
- You will lie down on the bone DEXA table
- A scanner will slowly move over the lower spine, left hip, or other areas of concern
- A pair of low-dose X-ray beams help create an image that represents the bones’ mineral content
- The scanner delivers information directly to a computer for review
The full exam lasts approximately 20 minutes, and you can immediately return to your normal activities. Upon receiving your scan information, a board-certified radiologist will evaluate the results and provide a report for your primary physician. He or she will determine any necessary follow-up to protect your bone health.
Schedule a Bone Densitometry Exam
Bone densitometry is an important part of preventative health for anyone over 65 or with risk factors for osteoporosis. To learn more about bone densitometry in Hunterdon County, contact Hunterdon Radiological Associates today. With state-of-the-art equipment and a friendly, experienced team, we make it easy to get the medical imaging services necessary to maintain good bone health. For appointment scheduling, please call 908-237-5395.