Osteoporosis Screening

Osteoporosis Screening in St. Paul MN 

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to lose mass, become fragile and to break more easily.  It is a serious public health problem in the United States and affects more than 54 million people, causing over 2 million fractures of the vertebrae, hips or wrists each year.

Who should get a bone density test (DXA scan)? 

Provided by the National Osteoporosis Foundation www.nof.org

1) All postmenopausal women below age 65 who have risk factors for osteoporosis,

2) All women aged 65 and older,

3) Adults with fragility fractures or additional high-risk conditions,

4) Men age 70 or older,

5) Men ages 50-69 with risk factors for osteoporosis

6) Women with medical conditions associated with osteoporosis such as Vitamin D deficiency, rheumatoid arthritis, hyperthyroidism, multiple myeloma,hypercalcuria, hyperparathyroidism, celiac disease, renal disease, cerebral palsy and anorexia.


Are you at Risk?

Uncontrollable Risk Factors 

  • Being over age 50.  
  • Being female.   
  • Menopause.   
  • Family history of osteoporosis.   
  • Low body weight/being small and thin.   
  • Broken bones or height loss.

Controllable Risk Factors or What can you do to protect your bones? 

  • Get enough calcium and vitamin D and eat a well- balanced diet.
  • Engage in regular exercise. 
  • Eat foods that are good for bone health, such as fruits and vegetables. 
  • Avoid smoking and limit alcohol to 2-3 drinks per day. 
  • Talk to your provider about your bone health and whether you need to take a bone density test.

Fast Facts about Osteoporosis 

  • Peak Bone Mass (PBM) is acquired by the late teens or early twenties. Children and adolescents who have higher PBM reduce their risk of osteoporosis later in life. 
  • 80% of those affected by osteoporosis are women. 20% of those are men. 
  • While osteoporosis is often thought of as an older person’s disease, it can strike at any age. Approximately one in two women over age 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis.
  • Up to one in four men over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

Only a bone density test (DXA Scan) can provide the information your doctor needs.


Osteoporosis screening is performed at two of our Family Clinics Sites. At this time, they are being scheduled at our North St. Paul Clinic and West St. Paul Clinic. DXA scans are the most commonly used test to measure bone density. Your results from this test can be a great help in diagnosing bone loss and in monitor the effectiveness of your Osteoporosis treatment plan. Ongoing test results can help you decide if you need to make adjustments in your plan. 

Today there are a variety of effective ways to manage osteoporosis.  Early detection using a bone density test (one of which is known as a DXA) is the best way to detect the condition and protect yourself from the debilitating effects of this all too common condition.  

How is a bone density done? 

The bone density test is a simple, painless, noninvasive procedure.  You will be asked to lie perfectly still on a table while a movable arm passes over the area to be tested (for example, arms, spine, or hips).

Is a bone density test the same as a bone scan? 

No.  A “bone scan” is a procedure requiring an injection of radioactive material.  A bone density test is faster and requires no special preparatory drinks, medications, or injections. 

How much radiation will I be exposed to? 

Very little.  For example, a spine test delivers less than one-tenth the dosage of a chest X-ray.  As with any medical procedure, be sure to inform your physician or technician if you are pregnant. 

What will the bone density test reveal? 

The test will measure your bone mineral density (BMD) or bone mass, and compare that number with reference populations of people at peak bone mass and whose age, sex, and racial background are similar to yours.  This information will help your doctor determine if you need to take any specific steps to protect your bone health.  

How long does the test take? 

The scan takes approximately ½ hour.  Please allow ample travel time to your appointment.  Late arrivals may result in rescheduling your test. 

Here is what one woman stated about her DXA Scan, “The entire staff was very professional and friendly. The tech that performed my test was very gentle and she explained every step along the way.