The Medical Center at Albany now offers central dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, also known as bone densitometry or Dexa, for residents of Clinton and surrounding counties. Dexa is a bone mineral density test that measures bone mass and is the only test that can diagnose osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a potentially debilitating disease that causes bone to become porous, brittle, and easily broken. Women, particularly post-menopausal women, are at a higher risk for osteoporosis than men, and the risk increases with age.
“Osteoporosis has no symptoms until a bone is broken,” said Laura Belcher, Administrator of The Medical Center at Albany. “This makes the bone density test extremely important—the disease can be detected and treatment begun before a bone breaks.”
Bone density tests are painless and no special preparation is necessary. Dexa is similar to an x-ray but uses much less radiation — and, in most cases, the test only takes around 15 minutes. The American College of Radiology recommends that all women age 65 years and older and men age 70 and older receive bone density tests. Risk factors that may require younger testing include estrogen deficiency, family history of fractures, smoking, and low body mass.
A physician order is required for a bone density test. Once a physician has ordered the test, either the patient or the physician’s office can call 606-387-3604 to schedule the test.