What is osteoporosis ?
Osteoporosis is a potentially crippling disease characterized by the loss of bone tissue and a susceptibility to fracture. It is commonly seen in elderly women and the disease process is usually accelarated following menopause.
Could I be osteoporotic ?
Common risk factors for osteoporosis include peri / post menopausal age group in females, milk intolerance, smoking, chronic alcohol state, taking steroid based drugs on a long term basis, a family history of osteoporosis and a sedentary lifestyle.
What is bone densitometry ?
It is a special test which involves measurement of the density of the bone and mineral content of the bone. It is useful in detecting osteoporosis at an early stage and even gauging the severity of the disease.
How is it performed ?
Although various methods have been used to detect osteoporosis, including special ultrasound equipment, Dual energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) is the most commonly used so far in India. It involves a simple estimate of bone content performed by taking measurements of the hip, spine and sometimes even the forearm.
What will I experience during this procedure ?
This test is harmless, you are made to lie on a table and then a special type of x-ray picture is taken. The procedure takes only a few minutes. The bone content (calcium) of the part examined is then calculated using the help of a computer and also taking into consideration your height and weight measurements, age and sex.
A low value may predict likelihood of developing osteoporosis and thus a treatment plan can be selected to minimize the changes that could be taking place.