Diagnosing Osteoporosis – Get The Picture

Diagnosing osteoporosis is an important health initiative that must be taken seriously since the health cost associated with an inaccurate or a missed diagnosis can be costly in the arena of health consequences for years to come.

When diagnosing osteoporosis it is important to determine if the osteoporosis is of a primary or a secondary nature as the treatment is different for each cause.

Secondary osteoporosis is related to the fact that something else is causing the development of osteoporosis, for example, collagen disorders such as osteogenesis imperfecta, and Marfan's syndrome, bone marrow disorders such as multiple myeloma, lymphoma, or even chronic alcohol use, or endocrine disorders such as, Cushing's disease, diabetes, or a hyperthyroidism.

When diagnosing osteoporosis the best test on the market today is the DEXA scan. This test takes about 10 minutes to perform, is completely painless, and is associated with very limited radiation exposure. The DEXA scan passes the x-rays through the bones of either the hip, the spine or the wrist to assess its density.

The results of the tests are then compared to the normal baseline of the young adult population as well as to the age and gender control groups. The DEXA scan will be able to determine if you are at a higher risk for sustaining a fracture.

DEXA scans are recommended for all women over the age of 65, postmenopausal women under the age of 65 who have multiple risk factors, patients who have endured long-term oral corticosteroid use, and patients with a hyperparathyroidism.

Diagnosing osteoporosis is a fairly simple thing to do for any health care practitioner. It is also a critical piece of your healthcare puzzle.

A complete history and physical along with appropriate bone scans can help your physician to determine if you have osteoporosis.