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Hints for Health...30-second test can determine risk for osteoporosis PDF Print E-mail

By Adrienne Turner, RT, (R)

Radiology Director

Osteoporosis is a major  public health threat for an estimated 44 million Americans. For World Bone & Joint Week, Oct. 12–20, we’d like to focus on osteoporosis.  

This disorder affects nearly one-half of all post menopausal women, the largest group at high risk for osteoporosis. Other risk factors for osteoporosis include medication and certain diseases. 

Medications which increase risk of osteoporosis include steroids, thyroid medication, Coumadin, and some anti-seizure medications. Diseases which affect osteoporosis risk include endocrine diseases, liver diseases, bowel diseases such as celiac sprue, renal diseases, neurologic diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, gynecologic problems such as endometriosis, long-term drug or alcohol use, and many cancers as well as cancer treatments.

Osteoporosis results in more than 1 million hip, spine, and wrist fractures annually. At six months after a hip fracture, only 15 percent of hip fracture patients can walk across a room unaided. Many need to move from independent living at home to a nursing home. Yet most of us know little about protecting ourselves from this disease.

Research in osteoporosis, the disorder in which progressive bone loss results in increased risk of fracture, is making important new advances. Through changes in diet, exercise habits and/or medication, further deterioration of bone and associated fractures can be prevented. 

A key factor in this success has been the availability of new and improved equipment to measure bone density. Using a bone densitometer, physicians can measure patient bone density and follow it over time. 

If the patient’s bone density is low, or decreases at an abnormally fast rate, the patient may be at risk for osteoporosis and associated fractures.

A new bone densitometer was recently installed in the Radiology Department at Perkins County Health Services. 

The state-of-the-art GE Lunar bone densitometer measures the density of the spine, hip, and forearm, which are the most frequent sites of fracture. 

In just 30 seconds, this highly precise densitometer helps us to identify osteoporosis risk. It can also aid in determining the effects of osteoporosis treatment. The exam is very brief and is a comfortable procedure for the patient. 

There is no special preparation involved.

The Radiology Department for Perkins County Health Services encourages individuals to visit the facility to see the new bone densitometer machine. 

We also encourage you to visit your doctor for an evaluation of your risk factors for osteoporosis. 

If you have one of the risk factors based on medications, diseases, or postmenopausal status, you are probably a candidate for a bone density examination. This allows you to protect yourself from osteoporosis and debilitating fractures.

Further information regarding osteoporosis, risk factors, and bone density measurements may be obtained by contacting the Radiology Department at Perkins County Health Services at 308-352-7216. Always consult your physician before scheduling any testing.

Testing hours are: Monday –Friday,  6 a.m.–6 p.m. and Saturday 7 a.m.–p.m.