Osteoporosis refers to a metabolic disease of the bones. As we age, the bone structure becomes increasingly porous and the risk of fractures increases. About 25% of the German population over the age of 50 suffer from this disease. It is mainly women who develop osteoporosis after menopause, as their estrogen levels drop.
Bone dens itometry (osteodensitometry) determines the density of the bones with a so-called T-score. Osteoporosis is assumed to exist with a T-score of 2.5 or higher. In addition to ultrasound or dual X-ray apsoptiometry, quantitative computed tomography scans are also used.
Where can you have an osteoporosis screening examination in Munich?
As we age, the risk for age-related bone loss increases in both sexes. Since osteoporosis cannot be cured, early detection and treatment are important to counteract the progressive loss of bone substance. Just ask our specialists!
Burgstraße 7 80331 München Tel: 089 2121960
Tel: 089 2121960
Nymphenburger Str. 163
Tel: 089 2121960
Säbener Straße 51
Tel: 089 2121960
Wolfratshauser Str. 107a
Tel: 089 2121960
At what point does it make sense to have a screening examination of the bones?
The reasons for osteoporosis can be many and varied. Women in particular have an increased risk of developing osteoporosis after their menopause. During menopause, production of the hormone estrogen decreases, which in turn regulates the bone-building hormones vitamin D3 and calcitonin. Therefore, screening for bone loss after menopause is useful. This is especially true for women who, in addition to low estrogen levels, have an increased risk of falls or low body weight.
Osteoporosis can also occur as a result of other diseases (e.g. hyperthyroidism) or long-term use of medications (e.g. cortisone). Smoking and a hereditary burden can also cause the development of bone loss. In these cases, you should talk in detail with your treating physician about the risk probability of developing osteoporosis.
How does an osteoporosis diagnosis work?
Doctor talk and physical examination
At the beginning there is the basic diagnostics. During the consultation with your physician, he or she will take the patient’s medical history and determine if there were or are any past or current signs of osteoporosis. This could be indicated, for example, by back complaints or pain during physical exertion. In addition, the physician records whether the patient is taking certain medications or whether there is a genetic history in the family that could promote osteoporosis.
During the physical examination, the doctor checks the patient’s mobility and fitness. A mobility test is performed to determine whether the patient is at increased risk of falling. This would possibly indicate osteoporosis because the patient is trying to avoid pain by loading the body differently.
Bone Density Measurement
If osteoporosis is suspected after talking to the doctor, the next step is bone densitometry (osteodensitometry or DXA measurement). To determine bone density, the mineral salt content is measured at the lumbar vertebrae, femoral neck and femur. The T-value determined for the patient is compared with the mean value typical for this age group. If the patient’s T value is significantly lower, the suspicion is confirmed.
X-ray examination uses only low-dose X-rays to measure the density of bones. In some cases, computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging may also be considered. The examination can be performed without contrast medium. It is absolutely painless and is completed after just a few minutes. Therefore, the examination is not perceived as burdensome by the patients.
What do I need to consider when screening for osteoporosis?
The health insurance company covers the cost of a bone density measurement every five years, provided that the patient can prove that he or she has osteoporosis diagnosed by a physician. In case of severe disease progression or other medical reasons, bone densitometry may be repeated earlier. The right to this examination also exists if there is an increased risk of osteoporosis; for example, due to certain chronic diseases or the use of certain medications that increase the risk of bone loss.
It should be noted, however, that bone densitometry as part of early detection is not reimbursed by health insurance and the cost must be paid by the person himself, unless there are signs of disease or osteoporosis diagnosed by a doctor.
X-rays are used in bone densitometry. The radiation dose used is low, which is why the radiation exposure for the person being examined is low. In addition, the examination takes only a few minutes and the modern equipment ensures that the X-rays are very targeted.
However, it is important that pregnant women and children should not be exposed to radiation. If osteoporosis is suspected in these groups of individuals, it is critical to inform the treating physician early so that he or she can consider an alternative examination method.