Osteoporosis Center

Woman undergoing scan at bone — Aesthetic Physicians in Richlands, Virginia
An osteoporosis bone is a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, leading to bone fragility and an increased susceptibility to fractures of the hip, spine and wrist. Eight million American women and 2 million have osteoporosis and an estimated 34 million have low bone density. With osteoporosis is often thought of as an “older person’s disease,” it can strike at any age.

Eighty percent of those affected by osteoporosis are women. Twenty percent of those affected by osteoporosis are men.
  • Osteoporosis Scanning

What is a Bone Density Test?

Woman undergoing scan at bone — Aesthetic Physicians in Richlands, Virginia
Bone density testing is used to assess the strength of the bones and the probability of fracture in persons at risk for osteoporosis. The test, referred to as bone densitometry or bone mineral scan (BMD), is a simple, noninvasive procedure that takes just minutes,
Unlike a bone scan, bone densitometry testing does not involve the administration of radioactive contrast material into the bloodstream.

How is a bone density test done?
The most commonly used test is known as a dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan, and it can be performed with devices that measure bone density in the hip and spine, or smaller peripheral devices to measure bone density in the wrist, heel, or finger. The central bone density device is used in hospitals and medical offices, while the smaller peripheral device is available in some drugstores and in screening sites in the community. The DEXA scan involves a much smaller radiation exposure than a standard chest X-ray.

What causes Osteoporosis?
In premenopausal women, estrogen produced in the body maintains bone density. Following the onset of menopause, bone loss increases each year and can result in a total loss of bone density in the first five to ten years after menopause. Your doctor can help you decide when and if you need a bone density test. In general, this testing is recommended for women 65 and older along with younger postmenopausal women who have further risk factors for osteoporosis, including:
  • A history of bone fractures as an adult or having a close relative with a history of bone fractures
  • Smoking
  • Vitamin D deficiency, which can occur as a result of certain medical conditions
  • Excessive alcohol or caffeine consumption
  • Weight loss or low body weight; small-boned body frame
  • Early menopause IQ or late onset of menstrual periods
  • Physical inactivity
  • Taking a medication [such as prednisone or phenytoin, (Dilantin)] known to cause bone loss
  • Low estrogen levels
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Hyperthyroidism


Your physician will advise the most appropriate treatment regimen for you after reviewing the DEXA from results and your other health issues.