Osteoporosis and the Importance of Early Detection Screening
Getting a bone densitometry exam can give you the information you need to keep your bones healthy, especially as you age. To prevent fractures, it is important to be diagnosed early. Dr. Steven Price, a radiologist with ARA Diagnostic Imaging, shares important information about Osteoporosis with KEYE-TV’s Trevor Scott on CBS Austin’s ‘We Are Austin.’
(Trevor Scott) Welcome back to “We Are Austin.” We know as we get older, it’s a good idea to stay on top of our health with certain screenings, and the importance of this test goes bone deep.
I’m here with Dr. Stephen Price from ARA Diagnostic Imaging to talk about osteoporosis and the bone densitometry screening.
Good morning to you, Dr. Price, thanks for joining us.
(Dr. Steven Price) Good morning, Hi Trevor, great to be here.
(Trevor) Well, really important information here. We’re talking about being proactive. So explain to us first exactly what is osteoporosis and how does it happen?
(Dr. Price) So osteoporosis is also known as thinning bones because as we age, our bones can lose mineral content and density and become fragile and more likely to break. This can happen when the body loses bone mass and is not able to replace it. The bone can take on this honeycombed appearance and become very fragile.
(Trevor) Hmm, interesting. So how would somebody know if they have osteoporosis? Are there symptoms or signs?
(Dr. Price) So that’s the big problem with this disease. You really have no symptoms that can be felt like pain or weakness until there is a fracture. At that point, you’re well into osteoporosis. There are many treatments, but the best scenario is that we catch osteoporosis early with a screening called bone densitometry.
(Trevor) Interesting, so when is the best time of life to think about getting that screening?
(Dr. Price) So that depends quite a bit on your family history as well as a few other things. If you have parents who have osteoporosis you may wanna be screened as early as 50, but all women should have screening at age 65 and all men at age 7o. Older men and women can both be affected by osteoporosis. There’s also some medications and other chronic conditions that can contribute to osteoporosis, and we’ve listed a few of them here on the screen.
The important thing is to talk to your healthcare provider about your particular risk level and see if you might need to be screened.
(Trevor) Great information there. So Dr. Price, walk us through the process. What’s it like to get a bone densitometry exam?
(Dr. Price) So bone densitometry is so simple, fast, and painless. It really is one of the fastest exams we do. You just lie back comfortably on your back. We take three views, one of the lower spine, and your hip and your femur, and you’re done.
These areas provide the most information about patterns of bone loss. They’re are weight-bearing bones that can have debilitating fractures.
(Trevor) So once you’ve had this screening, you have this information, what kinds of information does that bone densitometry exam give you as the doctor?
(Dr. Price) So it gives us three types of information. One is the bone mineral density or BMD, and basically, the lower that score is the higher risk for fracture. It also gives us this T score, which measures your bone mineral density against that of a conglomerative young adult score. It also gives us a Z score, which compares your bone mineral density with that of people your age, sex, and ethnicity. If you’ve had previous exams, we also look at changes between those and your current exam. What we are looking for is the likelihood that you’ll have a fracture in the near future. We’re also on the lookout for osteopenia.
(Trevor) Oh, interesting. So explain to our viewers what is osteopenia?
(Dr. Price) So osteopenia is a low bone density that is not as severe as osteoporosis but it’s often the precursor for osteoporosis.
(Trevor) That’s interesting, good to know, too, early detection, of course. What are those next steps after getting the exam?
(Dr. Price) So ARA will share the report with your healthcare provider, and you can talk to them about lifestyle changes like diet and exercise and maybe about medication changes that can help increase your bone density. It’s important to get the information on your bone density early so that you can limit the effect of osteoporosis on your health as you get older. As you may know, getting a hip fracture or a femur fracture in old age can be very debilitating and can lead to many other aging issues such as muscle weakness, poor balance, lung problems: in general, deterioration. If you’re in a high-risk group or just at the right age for a bone densitometry, talk to your healthcare provider about it. It’s a vital step in your self-care.
(Trevor) Excellent information and easy screening to ensure future health. Thanks so much, Dr. Price.
Where can our viewers go to get more information on bone densitometry at ARA?
(Dr. Price) Yes, thank you. So they can go to ausrad.com. That’s A-U-S-R-A-D .com where we have information on both screening and how to understand your results.
(Trevor) Excellent. Dr. Price, thanks so much for joining us. Always great information coming from ARA and ways we can be our healthiest selves. Thanks for joining us.
(Dr. Price) Thank you very much.