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By 2020 half of all Americans over age 50 will have low bone density or osteoporosis.
Radiologist Maggie Goralczyk, MD, who specializes in musculoskeletal imaging at Mercy Fitzgerald and Mercy Philadelphia Hospitals, says a quick bone density scan—called a DEXA—helps doctors identify osteoporosis, which causes bones to become weak and brittle.
“A DEXA scan is the gold standard for measuring bone density,” says Dr. Goralczyk. “Osteoporosis is a silent disease; breaking a bone can be the first symptom. You can slow the progression of bone loss with the proper diet and exercise and, when indicated, medication.”
A DEXA scan not only helps to diagnose osteoporosis, it is also used to monitor the effects of treatment.
You may need a DEXA scan if you ...
- Are a female 65 years and older or a male 75 years and older
- Have a low body mass (less than 127 pounds)
- Have experienced fractures with minimal trauma or insufficiency fractures
- Are on long-term therapy with certain medications, such as steroids or heparin, among others
- Have a history of smoking
- Have certain medical conditions, such as chronic renal failure, eating disorders, vitamin D deficiency, organ transplantation or gastric bypass
Learn your osteoporosis risk: To schedule an appointment for a DEXA scan or other diagnostic imaging tests call Mercy Fitzgerald at 610.237.2525 or Mercy Philadelphia at 215.748.9117.
Take a few minutes to complete one of our hip, knee or osteoporosis risk assessments at mercyhealth.org/orthopedics/testing.