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Osteoporosis Screening/Bone Density Test

Osteoporosis is a disease in which bone becomes extremely fragile. Bone is a complex living tissue that can be weakened by poor diet and lack of exercise.

As we age, bones begin to break down faster than new bone can be formed. Osteoporosis removes minerals from bones until they become so weak and brittle that they fracture very easily. Actions such as bending to pick up a newspaper, lifting a vacuum, or even coughing can cause a fracture. Some fractures, such as hip fractures, may require hospitalization or major surgery, and may result in disability or even death.

Screening for Osteoporosis

  • An easy and painless procedure, an osteoporosis screening requires you to place your foot in an ultrasound device called a bone densitometer. This device then measures the bone mineral density of your heel. The heel is measured because its bone is similar to that found in the hip, where fractures most often occur. Watch an osteoporosis screening video to learn more.

Who should have an Osteoporosis screening?

  • Anyone who has the risk factors associated with the disease
  • If you already received a DEXA scan, continue to work with your doctor

How often should I get an Osteoporosis screening?

  • Annually

*Recommended guidelines only. Consult with your physician.

How do I prepare for an Osteoporosis screening?

  • Do not wear pantyhose (you’ll need to remove your shoe and sock)

Warning signs

Osteoporosis is painless in its early stages. However, some people experience these symptoms:

  • Bone fractures, especially of the hip, spine, or wrist
  • Change in posture
  • Sudden back pain
  • Loss of height

Risk factors

  • Being a postmenopausal woman
  • Race (Caucasians, Asian Americans, and Hispanics are at an increased risk)
  • Thin frame
  • Diet low in calcium
  • Smoking
  • Physical inactivity
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
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