A bone density test is the only test that can diagnose osteoporosis prior to a bone breaking. The test checks the consistency and solidity of the bones to determine how vulnerable they are to breakage.
What Is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that develops when bones become less and less dense. Osteoporosis literally means “porous bones” because of the effect the disease has on the bones.
Healthy bones have a honeycomb-like structure when you look at them under a microscope. The bones of an individual with osteoporosis are more porous, with significantly larger holes in the honeycomb structure.
Osteoporosis can happen if the body doesn’t make enough bone mass, or if the bones begin to lose bone mass, causing them to become less dense. As the bone density diminishes, the holes become larger, creating more empty space in the bone.
The consequence of osteoporosis is weaker bones that are more susceptible to breakage. The less dense a bone is, the easier it is to break when force or pressure is applied. A denser bone is stronger and less likely to break.
What Does a Bone Density Test Do?
A bone density test uses X-ray technology to measure mineral density in various bones in the body. It is a painless test that involves the patient lying on a table-bed while a mechanical arm passes over the body and uses X-ray technology to scan the body.
The bone density test examines the bones to get an adequate and thorough collection of bone density samples. The test takes 15-30 minutes and requires very little preparation on the part of the patient.
Should You Get a Bone Density Test?
One of the most difficult things about diagnosing osteoporosis is that it typically goes undetected until a bone breaks, at which time a doctor can examine the bone from the inside to check for density issues.
Similarly, it can be a little challenging determining whether you need a bone density test. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that a person get a bone density test if any of the following factors apply:
- Age: If you are a woman over the age of 65, or if you are a man over the age of 70
- Broken Bone: If you are over the age of 50 and break a bone
- Spine: If you break your spine or experience back pain
- X-ray Results: If a previous X-ray has shown bone loss
- Height: If you have lost at least a half an inch of height over the past couple of years
- Other Health Factors: If you are a woman who is menopausal or postmenopausal with risk factors including broken bones, height loss, and spine breakage
Medical Imaging Center in Palm Beach County
If you are interested in finding a center for your testing needs that has a caring and skilled staff, consider Independent Imaging. The professionals at our facility understand the concerns of patients who come for diagnostic testing. Our professional and compassionate team treats patients in a courteous and respectful manner.
To make an appointment at one of our four convenient locations in Wellington, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, and Belle Glade, call (561) 795-5558 today. You can also request an appointment online. We look forward to serving you and making your testing procedures be as comfortable and stress-free as possible.