New technology helps in fight against Osteoporosis
St. John's Lutheran Hospital in Libby
March 25, 2008
St. John’s Lutheran Hospital in Libby has recently installing new and improved equipment to measure bone density. The new bone densiometer is the latest addition to the hospital which will help them in the fight against Osteoporosis.
Twenty-five million Americans have osteoporosis, the most common type of bone disease. Fifty thousand people die each year because of it.
The new equipment is capable of performing a more precise bone mineral density measurement through the use of a Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry Scan, more commonly known as a DEXA scan.
Using a bone densitometer, physicians can measure patient bone density and follow it over time. If the patient’s bone density is low, or decreases at an abnormally fast rate, the patient may be at risk for osteoporosis. Through changes in diet, exercise habits, and/or medication, further deterioration of bone can be prevented.
The DEXA scan measures bone mineral density (BMD) in the hip and the spine. The test takes only 5 to 15 minutes to perform, uses very little radiation (less than one tenth to one hundredth the amount used on a standard chest x-ray), and is quite precise.
“The Lunar bone densitometer, in the Imaging Department at St. John’s, measures the density of the spine, hip, and other bones which are the most frequent sites of fracture,” explained Dr. Joshua Urvater, Orthopedic Surgeon at St. John’s.
“In just 30 seconds, this highly precise densitometer helps us identify risk at a much earlier stage. It can also evaluate response to treatment so that we know whether our therapy is effective, or if we need to modify our approach,” he said. “There is no special preparation involved for the patient. The exam is very brief, and it is a comfortable procedure for the patient.”
Dr. Urvator encourages patients to check with their primary care physicians to find out further information regarding osteoporosis, symptoms, risk factors, bone density measurements, and to prescribe BMD (bone mineral density) testing for postmenopausal women, and for men aged 50 to 70 years in whom the risk factor profile suggests cause for concern.