It used to be believed that osteoporosis was a natural part of aging, but that is not the case. Osteoporosis is a bone diseases that happens when the body loses too much bone, doesn’t make enough bone, or both. At this point you are much more susceptible to broken bones from falls, bumps, or something as little as sneezing. May is National Osteoporosis Awareness Month, which makes it the perfect time to get informed and get a DEXA bone density scan to test the health of your bones. Once you know the facts (and your results), you can take action; whether it be to keep on the path of prevention, or to strengthen your bones.
Who should get tested?
Bone Density tests are generally recommended for men 70 years or older, women 65 years or older, as well as younger women who have a higher risk of fracture. Your doctor may also recommend you get tested if you have lost a significant amount of height (around 4 cm or more), recently fractured a bone, take certain bone thinning medications (ex. Steroids like Prednisone, or anti-rejection medications for transplant recipients), or have had a recent decrease in hormone levels (menopause, or some cancer treatments).
What to expect?
This is the best part: DEXA Bone Density Scans are fast, easy, and pain free! When you go in for your exam you will lie on a padded table while a motorized scanner crosses over your body, sending two types of X-ray beams through your bones. It takes 10-20 minutes and all you have to do is hold still. You will only be exposed to a minimal amount of radiation; less impact than a cross-country flight.
Will my insurance cover it?
Medicare covers bone density testing every 2 years if you are 65 years or older and:
- Have low estrogen and are at risk for osteoporosis
- Are taking (or will be taking) steroid medications
- Have hyperparathyroidism
- Have X-rays that show possible osteoporosis, osteopenia or spine fractures
- Are being monitored to see if osteoporosis medications are working
Most other insurances companies will cover a DEXA Bone Density Scan if you have been through menopause, are not taking estrogen during menopause, have a fracture, or are on bone thinning medications. Call your insurance company directly and ask for details regarding your DEXA Bone Density Scan coverage.
Whether you are at risk or not, it is always a good idea to help your bones stay strong or get stronger. A few tips to keep in mind are:
- Make sure you get plenty of Calcium and Vitamin D
- Exercise regularly to keep your bones strong
- Make sure your diet includes a variety of dairy, fish, fruits and vegetables
- Avoid or quit smoking
- Limit your alcohol intake
Minneapolis Radiology has staff that are expertly trained to perform Bone Density testing while keeping you at ease. We offer DEXA at our Crystal, Plymouth and Maple Grove locations. Call to schedule your appointment today at 763-398-4400.