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Bone Density

DMC Women’s Care specialty physicians are using advanced technology, special medications and the latest diet and exercise recommendations to help women prevent osteoporosis, low bone mass/low bone density and the painful fractures that often go with them.

Osteoporosis is a gradual loss of calcium that causes bones to become thinner and more fragile – sometimes called Low Bone Density. The condition often affects women after menopause – making bone fractures more likely, even after seemingly mild trauma.

Fractures can occur in any bone, but they occur most typically in the hip, spine and wrist.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), about 10 million people in the United States have osteoporosis.

DMC Harper University Hospital, DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital and DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital are ranked among the “Best Hospitals in Southeast Michigan” for Orthopaedics care by U.S.News & World Report.

Low Bone Mass
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), about 34 million people in the
United States have low bone mass.


Five Steps to Bone Health
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), the five steps to bone health are:

Get your daily recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D.

Engage in regular weight-bearing exercise.

Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol.

Talk to your doctor about bone health.

Get a bone density test and take medication when appropriate.

Bone Density Testing (Densitometry)
Physicians at DMC are using an advanced form of x-ray technology called bone densitometry to identify women who are at risk of bone fractures. As with other diseases and conditions, early detection is the key to preventing further bone loss and fractures.

Bone density test equipment can help detect areas of bone demineralization before they become a serious problem – allowing the clinician to pursue alternative treatment if indicated.

The bone densitometry technology used at DMC – called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) – is the established standard for measuring bone mineral density (BMD).

The bone density test is a simple, non-invasive procedure. The exam takes less than 30 minutes and uses extremely low-dose x-rays, much less than a standard chest x-ray.

On the day of the test, patients can eat normally but shouldn’t take calcium supplements for at least 24 hours before the procedure. Patients should wear loose, comfortable clothing without metal zippers, buttons or belts. A jogging suit is ideal for this procedure.

During the test, the patient simply lays on a table while a small arm passes over her body. The table is padded and comfortable and the area is quiet and restful. Some patients actually find it relaxing and fall asleep.

In addition to checking for bone demineralization due to osteoporosis, the bone densitometry equipment is used to detect bone loss caused by other diseases and treatments that can cause bone demineralization, including diabetes, cancer, lupus, kidney disease and liver disease.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends bone density testing for all women over age 65. The organization also recommends bone density testing for all women under the age of 65 who have one or more risk factors for osteoporosis.

Who Needs Bone Density Testing?
According to the Radiological Society of North America, bone density testing is strongly recommended if you:

Are a post-menopausal woman and not taking estrogen.

Have a personal or maternal history of hip fracture or smoking.

Are a post-menopausal woman who is tall (over 5 feet 7 inches) or thin (less than 125 pounds).

Are a man with clinical conditions associated with bone loss

Use medications that are known to cause bone loss, including corticosteroids such as Prednisone, various anti-seizure medications such as Dilantin, certain barbiturates or high-dose thyroid replacement drugs.

Have Type 1 diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease or a family history of osteoporosis.

Have high bone turnover, which shows up in the form of excessive collagen in urine samples.

Have a thyroid condition such as hyperthyroidism.

Have experienced a fracture after only mild trauma.

Have had x-ray evidence of vertebral fracture or other signs of osteoporosis.

Get this Test

To request a Bone Density Test such as the DEXA test, please call 888-DMC-2500, or visit our online test request page. Depending upon your insurance, you may need a physician referral to get this test.


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