Osteoporosis affects an estimated 44 million Americans. At 6 months after a hip fracture, only 15 percent of hip fracture patients can walk across a room unaided. Yet, most know little about how to protect themselves from the disease.
One of the first steps is to determine fracture risk. Waverly Health Center (WHC) recently purchased a new bone densitometer. This scanner includes a FRAX tool which measures an individual’s fracture risk probability.
“This highly precise densitometer helps us to identify osteoporosis risk. It can also help us see the effects of osteoporosis treatment,” said Dory Frericks, WHC radiology manager.
Osteoporosis results in more than 1 million hip, spine and wrist fractures annually. This disorder affects nearly one-half of all post-menopausal women, the largest group at high risk for osteoporosis.
Using a bone densitometer, doctors can measure patient bone density and follow it over time. If the patient’s bone density is low, or decreases at an abnormally fast rate, the patient may be at risk for osteoporosis. Through changes in diet, exercise habits and/or medication, further deterioration of bone can be prevented.
Frericks encourages people ages 60+ to talk to their providers about getting a bone density examination. “There is no special preparation involved for the patient. The exam is very quick and comfortable.”