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St. Luke's Hospital
Osteoporosis and Bone Density
Osteoporosis is a serious and common disease that can be present without your knowledge for decades because osteoporosis doesn't cause symptoms until a bone fractures. Bone Density Testing is a simple screening recommended for those who are most likely to develop osteoporosis.
How strong are your bones?A bone density test can provide the answer.
Researchers estimate that osteoporosis is responsible for more than 1.5 million bone fractures annually. Yet osteoporosis is often a silent disease because symptoms may not appear until something, such as a fracture, points to its existence. “You don’t know you have low bone density in advance unless you’re tested,” says Lynn R. Allen, MD, clinical director of the Metabolic Bone Disease Unit at St. Luke’s Hospital.
Testing, Testing!A bone density test is the way to find out if you have osteoporosis. The screening is fast, painless and noninvasive. The test looks for low bone density, which is an important risk factor for bone fractures. Based on your test results and other factors, your doctor can estimate how likely you are to have debilitating bone fracture.
St. Luke’s offers dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) testing, considered the “gold standard” test. DEXA can diagnose osteoporosis with minimal radiation exposure and rapid scanning time. The test uses a very tiny X-ray dose—less than one-tenth of a chest X-ray. It takes about 20 minutes and patients are comfortable during the procedure.
Who should get tested?The government recommends that women over age 65 and men over age 70 get a bone density test. Earlier testing may be suggested for those at higher risk of osteoporosis. Consider earlier testing if you:
Boost your bone healthIf you think you are at risk please ask your doctor if you should have a bone density test. When osteoporosis is diagnosed, it can be effectively treated.
A prescription from your doctor is required. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (212) 523-2663.
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