Osteoporosis and Bone Density Testing

Article provided by Maine Centers for Healthcare of Westbrook, ME
(courtesy of Merck & Co. Inc.)

Osteoporosis is a bone-thinning disease that reduces the strength of bones, causing them to become brittle and prone to fractures. Osteoporotic fractures can be painful, affect your posture and the way you look, and even result in permanent disability.

Important Osteoporosis Facts:

- More than 25 million Americans have osteoporosis.

- Osteoporosis causes over 1.5 million fractures annually.

- An estimated 54% of women over the age of 50 have, or will have, osteoporosis and are at risk of an osteoporosis-related fracture.

- 40% of 50-year-old women will suffer an osteoporotic fracture in their remaining years.

- A woman’s risk of experiencing hip fracture is equal to her combined risk of developing breast, uterine and ovarian cancer.

- Up to 24% of women who suffer hip fractures die within one year of the event.

- Osteoporosis occurs significantly more frequently in women.

- The effects of spinal osteoporosis can include height loss, kyphosis or “dowager’s hump”, back pain, rib pain, abdominal pain, and respiratory problems.

- A woman can lose up to one third of her lifetime bone mass during the first five years after menopause.

- Women who are postmenopausal are at risk for osteoporosis. The presence of any one of these risk factors can add to a pateint’s risk:

Fortunately, today there are ways to address osteoporosis. Early detection with the help of a bone density test is the best way to determine whether you are at risk. Maine Centers for Healthcare is pleased to offer bone density testing, to provide physicians with an accurate assessment of patient bone density and associated risk of fracture.

“The bone densitometer provides very accurate measurements that can help predict a woman’s risk of future fracture,” explains Dr. Owen Pickus, the center’s medical director. “Evaluating bone density using conventional X-ray techniques won’t reveal a problem until a person has lost at least 30% of his or her bone mass- and that’s just too late. Now, in a matter of minutes, we can get an accurate picture of a person’s bone density early enough in the disease to better enable us to make a real difference in the outcome.”

Remember, to help ensure your continued mobility and independence, it’s important to find out your bone density status now. Ask your physician for more information about bone density testing.




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