Osteoporosis is a disorder where bones are more fragile and likely to break. Our doctors in New York City recommend a bone density test to determine if you have osteoporosis or risk factors for osteoporosis, including many factors. A bone density test is a way to calculate your risk of breaking bones more accurately. Your doctor will evaluate your medical history and risk factors and recommend a bone density test if it is needed based on your individual history and risk factors and subsequent treatment based on the results.
One effective test is called a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry or DXA scan. It uses x-rays to measure the amount of bone minerals and calcium in a specific segment of bone.
The bones most often tested are:
Additionally, one of our best doctor internists and primary care doctors may suggest blood or urine tests or further work up to see if there is are other conditions that could be causing bone loss.
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Who Should Have a Bone Density Test in NYC?
Guidelines regarding who should have a bone density test can change. You should discuss your risk factors with your Upper East Side primary care doctor to evaluate when it is recommended in your specific case.
The DEXA Bone Density Test Procedure
A bone density test is entirely painless, easy, and fast. You will need to avoid taking calcium supplements for at least 24 hours beforehand, and it’s best to wear loose, comfortable clothing and ensure you remove all metal objects from your pockets.
The amount of radiation emitted during a bone density test is typically very low, much less than an ordinary chest x-ray. A DXA scanner emits tow x-ray beams, one of which is high energy while the other is low energy, and it measures the level of x-rays passing through the bone from each beam.
The difference between the two beams allows the doctor to measure your bone density. The test can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, and the results are given as two numbers: the T-score and the Z-score.
Your T-score is the number of units that your bone density is above or below the average, which would normally be expected in an adult of your sex. A score of above -1 means your bone density is considered normal.
Your Z-score is the number of units above or below what would normally be considered standard for someone of your sex, age, ethnicity, and weight. If the score is significantly higher or lower than average, it may suggest that something other than aging is causing bone fragility.
What if I Have Osteoporosis?
If your bone density test shows that you have osteoporosis or are at risk of this disease, we can provide a suitable treatment plan to manage these risks and to help strengthen your bones.
Although it isn’t possible to entirely reverse osteoporosis, there are several ways you can manage it. Some drugs can help maintain or build bone. Sometimes, lifestyle modifications can be useful, for example, incorporating more exercise or making sure your diet contains plenty of calcium and vitamin D (vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium). Your treatment plan should always be discussed with your doctor.
Bone Density Test and Osteoporosis Scan for Patients in NYC
Please call us if you have any questions or would like to make an appointment with one of our doctors in our Midtown Manhattan or Upper East Side locations. Our general practitioners and internist doctors look forward to meeting you!
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