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DEXA bone density screening now available

Fairfield, Texas – ETMC Fairfield has installed a Hologic DEXA unit, which is used to measure bone loss associated with osteoporosis.

What is DEXA?
DEXA, also known as dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, is a quick, painless imaging procedure. It uses very low dose x-rays to evaluate a person’s bone mineral density and predict their risk of bone fractures before osteoporosis develops.

“Patients can benefit tremendously from a DEXA test,” said Anne Brooke, ETMC Fairfield radiology manager. “Because osteoporosis usually has no warning signs or symptoms, bone mineral density testing with the DEXA unit can alert a physician that his or her patient may be at risk for the disease. Medications can then be prescribed to improve bone density.”

The Exam
The exam takes about 15-30 minutes. The patient lies on their back on a padded scanning bed and breathes normally while a scanner passes over either the lower spine or hip, measuring the bone density. No special preparations are needed prior to the exam, although patients are asked not to take calcium supplements for two days prior to their appointment. A physician’s order is required to have a DEXA bone screening.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation notes that people who fit the criteria below may benefit from having bone mineral density screening:

  • Postmenopausal women under age 65 with one or more risk factors for osteoporosis
  • Men age 50-70 with one or more risk factors for osteoporosis.
  • Women age 65 or older, even without any risk factors
  • Men age 70 or older, even without any risk factors
  • Women or men who have broken a bone after age 50
  • Women going through menopause with certain risk factors
  • Postmenopausal women who have stopped taking estrogen therapy (ET) or hormone therapy (HT)

Steps for good bone health
The NOF recommends these steps for good bone health and osteoporosis prevention:

  • Get your daily recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D
  • Engage in regular weight-bearing exercise
  • Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about bone health
  • When appropriate, have a bone density test and take medication

ETMC Fairfield is part of the East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System – a nationally recognized system of hospitals that seeks to maximize the quality and level of care offered by each community’s hospital.

Other ETMC hospitals include those in Athens, Carthage, Clarksville, Crockett, Gilmer, Jacksonville, Mt. Vernon, Pittsburg, Quitman, Trinity and Tyler.
ETMC is a not-for-profit organization committed to improving the quality of life in communities throughout East Texas.