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Bone Density Testing

Have you had your bone density tested?

Bone density testing is used to determine a woman’s risk of osteoporosis. This safe, painless procedure uses small amounts of radiation to measure bone density. As with breast cancer, early detection is important in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a definitive health risk for both men and women, and one out of two women will develop osteoporosis during their lifetime.

Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile and weak, leading to an increased risk of fractures (broken bones). Usually the bone loses density, which measures the amount of calcium and minerals in the bone. People with osteoporosis can experience a racture even after a slight bump, or a fall from standing height, in the course of daily activities. Fractures due to osteoporosis occur most commonly at sites such as the wrist, upper arm, pelvis, hip and spine, and can result in severe pain, significant disability and even death.

Risk factors for osteoporosis:

  • Age > 50
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Low body weight (petite/thin frame)
  • Lack of exercise
  • Post-menopausal
  • Smoking

What to Expect at Your Bone Density Test

This simple procedure usually takes between 10 and 20 minutes. Depending on the part of the body being tested, you may simply lie on a table or place your arm on the table. Dress comfortably, but don't wear clothes with metal buttons, buckles or zippers. Be sure to tell your health-care provider if you're pregnant.

Lowell General Hospital offers multiple sites for bone density testing:

  • Main Campus: 295 Varnum Avenue, Lowell
  • Saints Campus: 1 Hospital Drive, Lowell
  • Women’s Imaging Center: 4 Meeting House Road, Chelmsford
  • Circle Health North Andover: 203 Turnpike Street, North Andover

Print out our Osteoporosis flyer.

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