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Technology at Memorial Hospital
Helps in Fight Against Osteoporosis

Radiological technologist

A radiological technologist
demonstrates a bone densitometer.

Twenty-five million Americans have osteoporosis. Fifty thousand people die each year because of it. Yet, most of us know little about protecting ourselves from this disease. Osteoporosis results in more than one million hip, spine, and wrist fractures annually.

This disorder affects nearly one-half of all postmenopausal women, the largest group at high risk for osteoporosis. Research in osteoporosis, the disorder in which progressive bone loss results in increased risk of fracture, is making important new advances.

A key factor in this success has been the availability of new and improved equipment to measure bone density. Using a bone densitometer, physicians 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.

The Lunar bone densitometer measures the density of the spine, hip and other bones which are the most frequent sites of fracture.

Prior to the bone densitometer, evaluating bone density using conventional x-ray systems did not reveal a potential problem until a patient had lost 25-30 percent of her bone density. Now, in just 30 seconds, this highly sensitive densitometer helps us identify risk at a much earlier stage. It can also evaluate response to treatment so that we know whether our therapy is effective or if we need to modify our approach.

Recent research findings clarify the nature of the disease, and demonstrate the effectiveness of new treatments. New diagnostic devices, such as the Lunar bone densitometer, improve the early detection and treatment of osteoporosis.

Talk to your doctor to see if a bone density scan is appropriate for you. There is no special preparation involved for the patient, the exam is very brief, and is a very comfortable procedure for the patient. A prescription from a physician is necessary to receive the bone scan.

For further information about Radiology Services at Memorial Hospital, call 570-268-2283.