Known as a silent disease, osteoporosis causes bone loss, which can lead to serious injury and chronic pain, and most people don’t even know they have it. With bone density screening, a safe and painless exam, people who have osteoporosis or are at risk for developing it, can be diagnosed before they suffer a broken bone. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, approximately 22 million Americans have low bone density or osteoporosis.
While osteoporosis affects both women and men, women are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with the disease. It is estimated that about 50% of women over 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis and about 25% of men will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis Risk Factors
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, the following factors put you at higher risk for developing osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor about getting a bone density test if you have one or more of the following risk factors:
- Over age 50
- Menopausal or post-menopausal
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Small stature
- Previous broken bones or height loss
- Not eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, calcium and vitamin D
- Inactive lifestyle
- Excessive alcohol use
Screening for Osteoporosis
Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, also known as a DEXA scan, is the preferred method for diagnosing osteoporosis or osteopenia, which means low bone density and is a pre-curser to osteoporosis. During a DEXA scan, you’ll lie on a table while a scanner passes over your body. You may need to hold your breath for a few seconds. This exam takes only about 15 minutes to complete and can help you and your doctor know if you have osteoporosis or if you may be at risk for it.
Most insurance plans, including Medicare, cover bone density tests if you have one or more risk factors. Contact your insurance carrier to check what’s covered under your specific plan. Most insurance policies will also cover a repeat scan every two years.
Schedule Your Bone Density Screening with Association of Alexandria Radiologists
Our bone density tests are conducted by certified bone densitometry technologists and interpreted by board certified radiologists. Bone density scans are offered at our Alexandria and Woodbridge imaging centers, Inova Alexandria Hospital, Inova Springfield Healthplex, Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, Insight Imaging Fairfax, Inova Imaging Mark Center and Inova Lorton Healthplex.