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The bone density test, often called Dexa-Scan (DXA), is the one most often used for identification of osteoporosis. An x-ray beam is directed at a small area (usually the heel, spine, hip, or wrist). The more mineral density you have in your bones, the less x-ray beam will pass through your bone. It is recommended for all women over 65 and postmenopausal women with one or more risk factors as well as women on prolonged hormone replacement therapy.  Our Bone density scan is not an X-Ray, but it does test the density of the heel bone.

Osteoporosis is a thinning and weakening of the bones, usually associated with the aging process. The bones hold almost all of the body’s calcium – the remaining small amount circulates for use by the body. Bone, like other organs, is constantly breaking down and reforming. With osteoporosis, the amount of calcium present in the bone slowly decreases, causing the bones to become brittle and prone to fracture. Often, the diagnosis of osteoporosis is not made until a fracture occurs with only moderate pressure.

There are two types of osteoporosis:

Type I - or high turnover. Occurs in some women aged 50-75 due to the sudden decrease in estrogen as a result of menopause. This causes rapid calcium loss from the bones, making the women susceptible to hip, wrist, forearm, and spinal compression fractures.

Type II – or low turnover, age-related, or senile osteoporosis. Occurs when bone loss and formation are not equal and more bone is broken down than replaced. It affects both men and women. Women with “dowager’s hump” (a large lump in the upper back) and loss of height have Type II. This type is associated with leg and spinal fractures in both sexes.

People at increased risk include women who go through early menopause, those who are anorexic, or have never given birth. Men at risk include those with decreased testosterone levels due to treatment for prostate cancer, surgery for testicular problems, or who have had mumps. Men or women who have a family history of osteoporosis are also at risk, as are Caucasians and Asians

*This information was extracted from an excellent website.http://labtestsonline.org.For further information, explore their website or speak to your physician.

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