Most people's bones become thinner as they get older. When bones become thinner than expected, it's known as osteopenia. Osteopenia puts you at risk for a more severe condition called osteoporosis. A doctor will recommend a bone scan to test your bone density when they suspect osteopenia or osteoporosis. A bone density test is essential to get once over 65 as your risk increases, especially for women. Osteoporosis typically has no symptoms, and people do not know that they have this condition until they break a bone unexpectedly
A bone density scan can give you better insight into your health. A bone density scan is a low-dose x-ray test that measures your bones' calcium and other minerals. The test shows your bones' strength and thickness (or density). Bone density scans detect the depletion of bone calcium and protein, which can cause bone fracture risks. A bone density scan typically measures the thickness of the spine, pelvis, lower arm, and thigh. A bone density scan is a noninvasive imaging test that helps providers diagnose specific illnesses like osteoporosis, while also tracking the progression of these illnesses
Typically, these scans are performed with an X-ray, called a DEXA scan, or with a computed tomography (CT) scan of the bones. There are two types of DXA equipment: a central device and a peripheral device. Central devices measure bone density in the hip and spine. Peripheral devices measure bone density in the wrist, heel, or finger.
Bone density tests differ from bone scans. Bone scans require an injection beforehand, and are usually used to detect fractures, cancer, infections, and other abnormalities in the bone. Bone density tests are easy, fast, and painless. Talk to your doctor about a bone density test if you think you might be at risk of bone loss or illness.
Houston MRI® & Diagnostic Imaging's GE Lunar Prodigy offers patients comfort, faster scanning capabilities, and body composition measurement. Here at Houston MRI, our DEXA scanner differs from most traditional scanners as it measures bone density in the lumbar spine and both hips and includes a detailed body composition analysis. If you have any questions or are interested in a test or procedure, please contact us at 713.425.8190