The DEXA (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) measures your bone mass. This measurement can help your doctor determine whether you need medication to help maintain your bone mass, prevent further bone loss and reduce fracture risk. It measures the hip, spine or the entire body. It works like a chest or dental X-ray. It is quick, safe and easy. You simply lie on a cushioned bed while a scanner arm passes over your body. The entire process takes about 20 minutes. A bone density test is the only way to diagnose osteoporosis and determine your risk of future fracture.
Preparing for your test is easy. You may eat and drink as usual before you visit, but you should not take any calcium supplements for 24 hours before your test.
The Hologic Discovery DEXA bone densitometry system we use in our clinics
Currently Osteoscan is a free service to over 95% of its patients.
A Medicare rebate is available where the presence of osteoporosis is either known or strongly suspected. The rebate is also available where the patient may have bone loss associated with a variety of medical conditions. Your doctor or Osteoscan can advise you if these apply.
From April 1, 2007 Australians over the age of 70 will be able to claim bone density tests under Medicare’s new guidelines. Previously a person has had to show signs of osteoporosis and/or suspected fractures to be tested.
Important News Benfiting over 70’s.
PRIME Minister John Howard today used a visit to a nursing home to announce a $225 million package to help elderly sufferers of osteoporosis.
The Federal Fovernment will extend the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) to include the drug alendronate from April next year. Osteoporosis sufferers aged 70 and over will also be able to claim bone density tests on Medicare.
“The two measures will put Australia at the forefront of fighting this enfeebling disease,” Mr Howard told residents of a nursing home at Marsfield in Sydney’s northwest.
Health Minister Tony Abbott said the measures were a sensible pursuit of prevention rather than cure. Nearly two million Australians suffer from osteoporosis, which causes fragile and brittle bones and a higher risk of fractures.
Osteoporosis Australia chief executive Judy Stenmark said preventing the first fracture was a vital step in treating sufferers. “Research tells us that once a person has sustained their first osteoporotic fracture they are five times more likely to refracture, so preventing that first fracture is very important,” she said.
December 18, 2006
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To obtain pharmaceutical benefits for medication you currently
need to show diagnosis of an osteoporotic fracture. If referred by
your doctor, Osteoscan will perform a low dose Digital Spinal X-Ray
that can diagnose fractures and confirm eligibilty.
Parathyroid hormone is not available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and can not be used for more than 18 months. Hormone Therapy medication is available without a fracture being diagnosed. Strontium ranelate is not yet available in Australia. It is important to take medication exactly as prescribed to get full benefits.
Note: Medicare and PBS eligibility is subject to changes in Government policy
The following guidelines have been established by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Your T-score result compares your bone density to a healthy person of the same race and gender in their 20s. Your Z-score compares you to people of the same age, race and gender. For example. If your Z-score is 0, your bones are average for your own age group.
T-score above -1.0
LOW BONE MASS (osteopenia)
T-score -1.0 to -2.5
T-score at or below -2.5
T-score at or below -2.5 with one or more osteoporotic fractures
Report for your doctor
A full report will be sent to your doctor within a week of your test.
Payment and Medicare rebates
A Medicare rebate is available where the presence of osteoporosis is either known or strongly suspected by your doctor. The rebate is also available where you may have bone loss associated with a variety of medical conditions. Your doctor or Osteoscan can advise you if any of these apply.
Monitoring your osteoporosis
Changes in bone density can be detected 6-12months after a previous scan. This is the only way to see if your bones are improving or becoming weaker. It is advisable to have subsequent scans on the same DEXA machine to ensure all measurements are consistent. All Osteoscan machines are calibrated uniformly to ensure all results are consistent and comparable.
Follow up scans
After your initial bone density test changes in bone density can be detected 6-12 months apart, If you require a repeat scan, it is advisable to return to the same testing facility to ensure that subsequent measurements can be compared to the initial test, and an accurate measurement of the change in bone density be assessed.
Falls are the most common accidents older people have. To reduce the risk of having a fall, be aware of the possible causes or risk
factors and avoid or modify them if you can. Some medicines or combinations of medicines can have an affect on your balance, vision or mental alertness. Falls can also be a sign of an undiagnosed medical condition such as low blood pressure or stroke. Your home may also have possible hazards, for example loose mats or uneven paving or walkways.