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Osteoporosis Testing

Bone Density Medical Center of Monterey, Inc.
 
 
Our osteoporosis testing center, known as the Bone Density Medical Center of Monterey, Inc, is located in our offices in Pacific Grove. We utilize the latest generation of General Electric bone mineral density testing equipment, have a state-certified technician on staff and the scans are read directly by Dr. Tobey.
 
 
We accept all physician referrals and work with all insurance payors for bone mineral density testing. The procedure is relatively quick (it takes about 20 minutes), non-invasive, and provides useful information about bone density and your risk of future bone fractures, particularly in the spine and hips. Dr. Tobey routinely provides consultative services to other physicians for their patients with osteoporosis and other bone density problems.
What is Osteoporosis?
 
Osteoporosis is a condition that results from a simultaneous loss of bone mineral calcium and superstructure (matrix). This causes bone to be weaker than normal and be subject to easy fracture. Throughout childhood and young adult life until about age 30, bone is continuously building denser architecture and calcium deposits. Thereafter, as we age, bone gradually loses its matrix and calcium density and progressively becomes weaker and more susceptible to fracture. Osteoporosis is an accelerated and/or pronounced decline in bone calcium and matrix.
 
Osteoporosis is the leading cause of hip fractures and spinal compression fractures in older adults. These fractures can have devastating consequences, both physically and financially. Early detection of osteoporosis can lead to treatments designed to delay or prevent such problems.
 
 
How Do I Know if I Have Osteoporosis?
 
Osteoporosis, like high blood pressure, is a "silent disease". Short of actually measuring bone density directly, osteoporosis can be difficult to diagnose until a major fracture occurs. Bone density measurements are the best current method of identifying osteoporosis at an early stage when treatment benefits will be the greatest. Waiting until the disorder presents itself with spinal compression fractures, loss of height, a bent-over posture, or chronic back pain and disability can be a serious mistake.
 
The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends testing for all women over the age of 65; for post-menopausal women with a prior fracture or a risk factor for osteoporosis; for women on prolonged estrogen therapy; or if you are considering osteoporosis therapy.
 
All men and women over age 50 with multiple risk factors for osteoporosis should be tested.
 
Risk Factors for Osteoporosis:
  • Female of caucasian race 
  • Age greater than 50
  • History of prior fracture
  • Body weight less than 130 pounds
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Prior removal of ovaries
  • Testosterone deficiency
  • Early menopause
  • Low calcium diet
  • Poor exercise habits
  • Smoking or alcohol use
  • Eating disorders
  • Certain medicines
    Steroids
    Anticonvulsants
    Anticoagulants
    Chemotherapy agents
    Lithium
    Excessive thyroid hormone
  • Chronic illnesses
    Insulin requiring diabetes
    Adrenal disease
    Hyperthyroidism
    Hyperparathyroidism
    Chronic lung disease
    Rheumatoid arthritis
    Certain cancers
    Pernicious anemia
    Liver disease
    Kidney disease
    Transplant patients
  • And numerous others...
  • How is the bone density test done? Please come to the test center 10 minutes early in order to fill out a background questionnaire that will be used to help interpret the study. Wear clothing without buttons, zippers, buckles or clasps. Sweat pants and sweatshirt or T- shirt would be ideal.  Do not wear a bra with wires.

    The densitometer is a large padded examination table. You will be asked to lie on your back on the table. Belt buckles, metal objects, plastic or shell buttons and metal jewelry will need to be removed. The operator will position your arms and legs and you will be asked to lie still for between one and 10 minutes.

    Bone densitometry utilizes X-rays to make these measurements. With new state of the art technology, the total amount of X-rays used for the procedure is very much smaller than from a single routine chest X-ray. The X-ray dose from this test is about the same as the naturally occurring radiation you would be exposed to in one week outdoors. However, even though this dose is VERY low, please notify the operator if you are pregnant or might be pregnant before having this test done!

    What information will the test give me? This test compares your bone mineral density (BMD) with that of a young adult at peak bone strength. It also compares your BMD to people your own age and sex. This information and other factors predict your risk of future fractures. The difference between your result and that of a young adult is given as a "T-score." The World Health Organization has defined the amount of bone loss as follows:

    Normal: T-score that is > -1

    Osteopenia: T-score between -1 and -2.5

    Osteoporosis: T-score equal to or below -2.5

    Your T-score and 10-year major fracture risk are the primary factor your doctor will consider in making a diagnosis. It identifies your future risk of bone fractures.

     

    Revised 8/08

    jTed A. Tobey, M.D., Inc. ‾ All Rights Reserved