Your bone density is critical to your body's health, as it largely dictates your risk for fractures. Bone mass is the amount of bone tissue in your body's skeleton, and bone mass can keep growing until a woman reaches approximately 30 years of age. At that point, your bones have likely obtained their peak bone mass (the maximum bone strength and highest amount of density). In the first few years after menopause, most women go through rapid bone loss, which then slows down for a period of time but continues throughout postmenopause. Bone densitometry, also called a bone mineral density (BMD) test, is an enhanced X-ray technology that uses low doses of radiation to measure bone loss and to predict your risk of bone fractures. People with osteoporosis – a condition in which deficiencies in calcium cause bones to become thinner, more fragile and prone to breaking – are most at risk of bone fractures.
Several different types of machines can perform bone densitometry, but the most common method is the DexaScan, which uses low doses of X-rays. Typically, these machines are used to scan the lower spine and hip regions. Because the machines give off such low doses of radiation, most experts consider the risk low, especially when compared with the benefits of early identification of osteoporosis.
To determine your bone density, Women’s Health of Augusta offers the gold standard in BMD testing, the full body DEXA scan. Contact us today to schedule a bone density test to learn more about your body's potential risk for osteoporosis and fractures.