BERRYVILLE, Ark.— It’s a health problem you could have and never know it, until you end up with a broken bone. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), porous bone affects 44 million Americans. That’s more than half of those ages 55 and older, although osteoporosis can strike at any age.
You don’t have to wait for a painful broken bone to learn you have the disease. A simple bone scan can make the diagnosis. Auxiliary members at Mercy Hospital Berryville donated $65,000 to buy a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scanner, which can determine if a patient has osteoporosis or is at risk of developing it.
“The donation from the auxiliary has been a blessing,” said Susan Coenen, director of Imaging at Mercy Hospital Berryville. “It means we are able to provide this type of test to patients without them having to travel to other facilities. The ability to compare their previous scans is important in monitoring and determining their risk of osteoporosis, as well as whether they’re responding to treatments.”
The test could save you more than a broken bone--it could also save you a lot of money. The NOF says in 2005, osteoporosis-related fractures were responsible for an estimated $19 billion in costs, and it recommends a DEXA scan as a way to detect osteoporosis in its earlier stages.
You can help keep your bones healthy by getting regular exercise, getting the calcium and vitamin D you need, stopping smoking, limiting your alcohol intake, and asking your doctor if a bone density scan is right for you.