Diagnosis of osteoporosis

We have previously emphasized the importance of detecting as early as possible whether you have osteoporosis or have an increased risk of developing this disease. Remember that osteoporosis usually does not cause pain in its early stages, and therefore many people do not know that they have it until one of their bones breaks. Although the risk factors listed on the previous pages may help you identify those at highest risk, accurate diagnosis in this patient population requires a test that can actually measure your bone density. The most reliable and common test for this purpose is called bone densitometry. It is a special type of X-ray to measure bone density. It is a completely pain-free process and requires you to lie on your back on a surface similar to an X-ray bed for five to ten minutes so that the machine can scan your body. It is a safe test because it uses a very small amount of X-rays, amounting to 1.2 Rem m, while a person is allowed to be exposed annually to 500 Rem m. This test does not require preparation or an intravenous injection.

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