According to Johns Hopkins, the density of your bones peaks around age 25 and stays stable until you’re nearly 50, at which point the density begins to slowly decrease. However, lifestyle choices and certain health conditions can accelerate bone loss, leading to a higher risk of osteoporosis and bone breakage as you age.
At Dr. Sasan Massachi's clinic in Beverly Hills, California, we can perform a bone density scan to measure your bone health. The results of the scan can be used to assess your risk of osteoporosis or to help treat it.
Bone scan basics
A bone density scan (DXA or QCT) can be done in our office and only takes a few minutes. Dr. Massachi asks that you don’t take any calcium supplements for two days before your appointment. You’ll need to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing without underwire in your bra or metal zippers or buttons. (Don’t worry: if you forget, we’ll give you a gown to wear for the few minutes scanning will take!)
Dr. Massachi will have you lie comfortably on your back on a padded table, while the scanner slowly runs the length of your body. You’ll be happy to know that there’s no needle, injection, or pressure. The scanner measures the amount of minerals in your bones — specifically your spine and femur head/hip, which are most likely to experience spontaneous fractures — and determines if you have any weak spots of low-density bone.
When you should schedule a bone density scan
Women are at a much higher risk than men for osteoporosis and brittle bones. You’ll need to get a bone density scan if you’re a woman:
- Who is over the age of 65
- With a personal medical history or familial history of easily broken bones
- Who has a small body frame, or who has lost height or a lot of weight
- With a health history of early onset of menses or menopause
- Planning to have a joint replacement
If you’re a man over the age of 70 and you have risk factors for thinning bones, you may also want to schedule a bone scan. Risks for early onset of bone loss include vitamin D deficiency, heavy alcohol and caffeine use, smoking, and certain medications.
Your bone density scan results
If you have low bone mass, Dr. Massachi will work with you to create a game plan to help minimize further bone loss, prevent osteoporosis, and reduce your risk of future fractures. He might recommend:
- Supplementing your diet with foods high in calcium and vitamin D
- Changing or adding medications to your regimen like the bisphosphonates (osteoporosis-fighting drugs)
- Becoming more active with a safe, low-impact exercise routine
Dr. Massachi can repeat your bone scan every two years to track your progress.
If you’re a woman age 65 or older, a man age 70 or older, and/or are at high risk for thinning bones, you’ll probably be a good candidate for a preventive bone density scan. Make an appointment by calling our office at 310-553-3013 or by requesting a consultation online.