What Is a Bone Density Scan?
Has your doctor told you that you need to get a bone density scan? You may be wondering what this test entails, why you need it, and, most importantly, if it will hurt or not!
What Happens During a Bone Density Scan?
First of all, no, a bone density scan doesn’t hurt! It simply uses x-rays to check how healthy your bones are by measuring how many grams of calcium and other important minerals are in your bone. The spine, hip, and forearm are most commonly the bones that are sampled. The amount of radiation you’ll get from a bone scan is very low, even less than what you are exposed to during a chest x-ray, and it typically only takes a few minutes.
Your doctor may want you to have this test before prescribing hormone therapy (your hormone levels can affect how strong your bones are), to determine your risk for osteoporosis (a disease that causes bones to become thin and brittle and increases the risk for broken bones), or to monitor how osteoporosis treatment is progressing. Women over the age of 65 and men over the age of 70 will naturally start losing bone density, but there are other risk factors for developing weak bones:
- Low body weight
- A family history of osteoporosis
- Lack of physical activity
- Heavy alcohol use
- Cigarette smoking
- Lack of calcium and vitamin D
If the test reveals that you have low bone density, your doctor may recommend that you get more exercise – even beginning an everyday walking regimen can help. It might also be suggested that you add calcium or vitamin D (either by using supplements or eating more foods that contain these) to your diet or start taking a prescription medication to increase your bone density.
A bone density test is quick and painless, but it can give you and your doctor a lot of important information about the health of your bones. If you are at high risk for weak bones, contact Women’s Health Medical Group for an appointment. Call the office in Fort Worth, Burleson, or Lake Worth at (817) 345-5336 to schedule an appointment today.