The exam is offered in Women's Atrium Diagnostic Center at Houston Northwest Medical Center and Cypress Fairbanks Hospital.
A tiny amount of radiation is used to measure the bone density in the lumbar spine and hip. Measurement of these two areas can most accurately determine the presence and value of treatment for osteoporosis.
No preparation is required, however, bringing any films of the patient's abdomen or lumbar spine can further improve the accuracy of the exam if a history of degenerative spurs or prior spinal fracture is present.
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when a person's bones become so thin that they can break during normal daily activities such as lifting a heavy object or rolling over in bed. Whether a person develops osteoporosis depends on the thickness of his or her bones early in life, as well as health, diet, and physical activity later in life.
The process of bone thinning is a natural part of aging and cannot be completely stopped. However, osteoporosis can be reduced or delayed through the practice of healthy habits, such as eating a nutritious diet and getting regular exercise, to help build and strengthen the bones early in life. Although it is best to start these habits during the teen years, adults who follow these habits can prevent or reduce their risk of developing osteoporosis.
Prevention and treatment for osteoporosis include eating a diet with sufficient calcium and vitamin D, getting regular exercise, and taking medication to reduce bone loss and increase bone thickness. Even small changes in diet, exercise, and medication can help prevent a broken bone.
Early diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis is very important. Diagnosis of osteoporosis is usually done by evaluation of a person's medical history and physical exam and by bone density testing. People who are most likely to develop osteoporosis need to be screened for the disease before symptoms (such as broken bones) occur.