Bone density testing

Bone Densitometry exams (DEXA scans) assist in the diagnosis of osteoporosis and osteopenia. Talk to your healthcare provider about checking your bone health and obtaining a referral to the Kearney Breast Center, especially if you are at risk for osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis and osteopenia

When we are younger, our bones grow along with our bodies. About age 30, our bones reach their maximum density (thickness) and strength.

Following menopause, ovaries stop producing estrogen, a hormone that helps prevent bone loss. Some people may then develop osteopenia, or low bone density. Osteopenia can eventually lead to osteoporosis, a more severe condition with even lower bone density, making the bones weaker, more brittle and more susceptible to fractures.

Testing can detect low bone density early and also predict the risk of future fractures. Testing is safe, quick and painless, and is recommended for women who:

  • Are younger than age 65 and have one or more risk factors, including thin or small body size, Caucasian or Asian ethnicity, certain medications, low calcium or low vitamin D intake, lack of physical activity
  • Are older than age 50
  • Have undergone early menopause
  • Have not been on hormones or hormone replacement therapy for a long time.
  • Had a history of chemotherapy
At the Kearney Breast Center we know that bone health, like breast health, is vital to staying strong through the aging process. When you schedule your mammogram, talk with your primary care provider about scheduling a bone density check too!

Risk factors for osteoporosis

Talk to your healthcare provider about checking your bone health, especially if you have the following risk factors for osteoporosis or osteopenia. If necessary, your healthcare provider can give you a referral to the Kearney Breast Center for a bone density scan.

  • Over the age of 50
  • Female
  • Cauasian or Asian ethnicity
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • History of bone fracture as an adult
  • Small bone structure and thin
  • Medications (some medications may increase your risk)
  • History of breast cancer
  • Chemotherapy treatment
  • Post-menopausal
  • Lifestyle that includes:
    • Smoking
    • Lack of exercise
    • High salt or high caffeine intake
    • Low calcium or low vitamin D intake