Bone Density Testing Program
According to the National Institutes of Health, osteoporosis is responsible for more than 1.5 million bone fractures annually in the United States. Yet osteoporosis is often a silent disease because symptoms may not appear until something, such as a fracture after a fall, points to its existence.
A bone density test is the best way to find out if you have osteoporosis. Testing is especially recommended for women over 65 and men over 70. Earlier testing is advisable for people who might be at higher risk of the disease, such as people who have a medical condition that makes them prone to weaker bones.
The screening, which is painless and noninvasive, looks for low bone density, an important risk factor for fractures. Based on the test results and other factors, your doctor can diagnose osteoporosis and estimate how likely you are to have a debilitating bone fracture.
There are various treatments for this disease, including medication. For patients interested in learning whether they have osteoporosis, St. Luke’s Hospital offers dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) testing, considered the “gold standard” in the field. The test uses a very tiny X-ray dose -- less than one tenth of a chest X-ray -- and takes about 20 minutes. Patients are comfortable during the procedure. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact the Bone Density Lab at St. Luke’s Hospital on Manhattan's Upper West Side at 212-523-2663.