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Women’s Health

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, a bone disorder characterized by decreased bone mass, causes more than 1.5 million fractures annually in the United States.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and millions more have low bone density. NOF also reports that 10 percent of African-American women over age 50 have osteoporosis, but significant risks have been reported in people of all ethnic backgrounds.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends bone density measurements for:

  • Women age 65 and above
  • Post-menopausal women with one or more additional risk factors for osteoporosis
  • Post-menopausal women with fractures
  • Women considering therapy for osteoporosis
  • Women who have been on hormone replacement therapy for prolonged periods of time

Risk factors for osteoporosis include:

  • History of osteoporotic fracture
  • History of an osteopathic fracture in a first-degree relative
  • Being Caucasian or Asian, although African Americans and Hispanic Americans are at signficant risk as well
  • Advanced age
  • Female sex
  • Dementia
  • Poor health/frailty
  • Medications such as corticosteroids
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Low body weight (below 127 lbs.)
  • Estrogen deficiency
  • Low calcium intake
  • Alcoholism
  • Impaired eyesight despite adequate correction
  • Recurrent falls and inadequate physical activity

Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia offers state-of-the-art bone density tests (called "DEXA" scans) to evaluate patients for osteoporosis. DEXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) are considered the gold standard for measuring bone density and are the most accurate way to diagnose osteoporosis.

DEXA scanning is fast and painless. During the procedure, the patient lies on a padded table while the scanning of the forearm, one hip and the spine is completed. The entire procedure takes less than a half hour. The amount of radiation is much less than a chest or dental X-ray. No preparation is needed, though we ask that the patient not take calcium pills the day of the exam.

Our highly qualified staff of board-certified radiologists subspecializing in Nuclear Medicine looks forward to providing you clinical DEXA services.

DEXA scans are performed at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia. To schedule an appointment, call (215) 951-TEST.

DEXA scans are also performed at Einstein Center One Radiology. Einstein Center One is located at 9880 Bustleton Avenue in Philadelphia. Please call (215) 951-TEST to schedule an appointment.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) states that Medicare reimburses DEXA scans if the referring physician orders it in advance as medically necessary because the patient is:

  • An estrogen-deficient woman (whether or not she is on hormone replacement therapy, the healthcare provider can decide if their patient is estrogen-deficient without clinical laboratory tests)
  • An individual with vertebral abnormalities
  • An individual receiving long-term glucocorticoid therapy
  • An individual with primary hyperparathyroidism
  • An individual being monitored to assess the response to or efficacy of a FDA-approved osteoporosis drug therapy

Medicare reimburses for repeat DEXA scans every two years as long as the person is considered in one of the five qualified groups. This can be repeated sooner if the patient is expected to receive the equivalent of 7.5 mg/day of the drug Prednisone for more than three months.

 

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