Osteoporosis causes bones to lose minerals such as calcium quicker than the body can replace them and consequently there is a reduction in bone strength and density.
As the bone becomes thinner, even a small bump or minor fall may cause a serious fracture. Therefore osteoporosis leads to a higher risk of fractures compared to normal healthy bone. Osteoporosis is often called the ‘silent disease’ because there are usually no symptoms until a fracture occurs.
Approximately 4.74 million Australians over the age of 50 have osteoporosis or poor bone health, and ~150,000 fractures occur each year due to osteoporosis or osteopenia (low bone density). Osteoporosis particularly affects women after menopause and in their later years, although men are also affected. Physical activity and a healthy, balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D can help prevent osteoporosis.
How Do We Measure Bone Mineral Density (BMD)?
Scanning of the axial skeleton by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry is the gold standard in Australia for the measurement of bone mineral density (BMD). DEXA is a diagnostic tool for osteoporosis or osteopenia, enabling doctors to determine the extent of bone loss for clinical decision making.
Riverside Medical Imaging provides an accurate and convenient bone densitometry service for patients and doctors. Early detection of bone mineral loss can help prevent the occurrence of an initial fracture. For patients who may have already had a fracture, investigation with a DEXA scan and initiation of osteoporosis medication combined with a healthy diet and exercise regime is crucial to reduce the very high risk of subsequent fractures.