To accurately detect osteoporosis, doctors commonly use DEXA bone densitometry scan to safely and painlessly measure bone density and bone loss by taking a low dose x-ray of your lower spine and hips.
Sometimes, an additional low-dose x-ray image, called VFA (Vertebral Fracture Assessment), is performed of the entire spine. This test allows doctors to see existing vertebral fractures, which may indicate the need for more aggressive treatment, even if bone density results are in the “normal” range.
When doctors detect bone loss in the earliest stage, treatment, along with preventative measures, are more successful.
The DEXA test also assesses your risk for developing fractures. It is effective in tracking the effects of treatment for osteoporosis and other conditions that can cause bone loss. Bone density testing is recommended for:
- Post-menopausal women age 60 or older who have risk factors for developing osteoporosis
- Patients with a personal or maternal history of hip fracture or smoking
- Post-menopausal women who are tall (over 5 feet 7 inches) or thin (less than 125 pounds)
- Men and women who have hyperparathyroidism
- Men and women who over an extended period have taken medications that are known to cause bone loss
For more information on this topic, please visit: radiologyinfo.org Bone Densitometry (DEXA, DXA)