CarneyServices and Clinical CentersWomen's Health


Osteoporosis can rob you of your independence. Osteoporosis is a disease that gradually weakens bones, causing them to become brittle and prone to fractures. Osteoporosis and its associated fractures can affect your mobility and independence.

Prevalence of Osteoporosis

  • 25 million Americans are affected by osteoporosis, making it a major public health issue.
  • 50 percent of women over age 50 have an osteoporosis-related fracture.
  • 1,500,000 fractures occur annually as a result of people having osteoporosis.

A bone density measurement can help your doctor diagnose osteoporosis.

Early detection of osteoporosis, using bone density measurements, is the best way to provide your physician with the information to protect you from the potentially debilitating effects of osteoporosis.

Many women who are post-menopausal are at risk of osteoporosis. The presence of any one of these risk factors can add to your risk.

  • Caucasian race or Asian ethnicity
  • Thin or small build
  • Family history of osteoporosis or osteoporotic fractures
  • Early menopause (before age 45)
  • Smoking
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Chronic use of certain medications such as steroids, excessive thyroid hormone and/or certain anticonvulsants
  • Excessive alcohol use

NOTE: You may have none of these risk factors and still be at risk of developing osteoporosis. Some authorities believe that the presence of any of these factors increases the risk for osteoporosis. However, even if you have none of these factors, you may still have osteoporosis. A bone density measurement can provide the information your doctor needs to clearly tell for sure.

What is a bone density measurement?

A bone density measurement will determine your bone mineral density (BMD) for the area measured. Your results are compared with the average BMD of young adults of your sex and race at their peak BMD. This information will help your doctor determine if you need to take certain steps to protect your bone health. Bone density measurement is simple, safe, non-invasive and painless, and you don't need to undress.

How long does a measurement take?

A measurement takes from five to 20 minutes. You will be asked to be very still during that time. Routinely, the spine and hip are evaluated because these are the most frequent areas to have osteoporotic fractures.

How much radiation will I be exposed to?

You will be exposed to minimal radiation and, in fact, it is much less than a standard chest X-ray. As with any medical procedure, be sure to tell your doctor if you are pregnant.

What should I wear?

Wear comfortable clothing, preferably something without metal buttons, buckles or zippers.

Women's Imaging Center
Carney Hospital
617-296-4012, ext. 5032 

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