Bone loss can be treated much more effectively if detected early. With the help of a fast, simple, painless X-ray exam called bone densitometry (also known as a DEXA scan),Carolina Radiology physicians can identify patients who are experiencing bone loss that may put them at risk. This means that, for many patients, bone loss can be found at an earlier stage so that treatment can begin before the full onset of osteoporosis.
An initial DEXA screening is recommended for all women at age 65. DEXA scans are recommended as a screening for:
- Women under 65 who are postmenopausal and have multiple risk factors for osteoporosis
- Women in the initial stages of menopause, as a test to help evaluate the advisability of hormone-replacement therapy
- Patients (male or female) at risk due to long-term use of medications that may cause bone loss as a side effect, or who have been diagnosed with an overactive parathyroid gland
Patients should discuss risk factors with their primary care physicians or gynecologists to assess the advisability of an osteoporosis screening. After the initial screening—and commencement of treatment, when needed—physicians can assess follow-up examination needs and intervals.