Osteoporosis Screening is available at our Women’s Centers at Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Greentree (Marlton), Turnersville, Voorhees, and Washington Township locations.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a significant health problem that affects more than 25 million women in the United States and potentially 200 million worldwide. This disease is characterized by diminished structural integrity of the skeleton (particular of the trabecular “spongy” bone) which results in an increased risk of fracture.
Osteoporosis is a condition that develops silently and often without symptoms over a period of years, eventually progressing to a point where a fracture can easily occur causing pain and disability. The post-menopausal female population has the highest incidence of osteoporosis and the highest death rate due to the disease.
Throughout life, bones maintain themselves through a process known as remodeling in which old bone matrix is removed (resorption) and new bone matrix is formed. In early adulthood, the levels of bone resorption and bone formation are balanced. During menopause, estrogen levels decline causing bone resorption to exceed bone formation, resulting in a loss of bone mass.
Studies indicate that women may lose several percent of their skeleton each year, with the most rapid loss occurring in the years immediately after menopause. Men are also at risk for developing osteoporosis. It is estimated that about 50% of women and up to 25 % of men older than 50 years of age will break a bone because of osteoporosis.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that osteoporosis is responsible for approximately 1.5 million fractures annually in the United States. Hip fractures lead to the most serious consequences. As many as one in every five hip fracture patients may die from complications within a year after fracture. One in every four will require long-term care, and an even higher percentage of hip fracture patients will never return to an active and independent lifestyle.
How do I know if I have osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, is often a silent disorder. An osteoporosis (DEXA) scan can identify individuals at increased risk for fracture. DEXA stands for dual photon x-ray absorptiometry.
Is osteoporosis preventable and treatable?
Until recently, osteoporosis was thought to be a natural consequence of aging. However, with the increased focus on women’s health issues and preventive medical practices, this attitude is changing. There are over 70 clinical studies currently in progress to assess the safety and effectiveness of new therapies to treat this disease. This push by the pharmaceutical industry to develop new therapies, coupled with the increased recognition of the disease as a preventable and treatable condition, bodes well for women who want to maintain independent and active lifestyles.
How do I prepare for a Dexa scan?
You should not take any calcium supplements the day before or the day of the exam. You should avoid having any exam that requires contrast for seven days before your Dexa scan.