Osteoporosis is more than a long, medical-sounding word. Initially it is a painless condition where the bones progressively become fragile and more likely to break. Any bone can be affected, but the hip and spine are of greatest concern. If not prevented, or left untreated, the complications of osteoporosis can include loss of height, deformity, expensive hospitalization, major surgery, severe pain, permanent disability and even death.
Recent advances in the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and osteopenia (an early stage of bone loss) have enabled us to slow, and in some cases even reverse, the progression of the disease. This is exciting news!
How Do I Know If I Have Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is often called a "silent disease." There are rarely signs until much of the bone has been lost. A medical test that measures the amount of bone is the only way to detect osteoporosis. Adventist Health's Achilles Express ultrasonometer is one such test. This method passes sound waves through the heel and measures the bone strength. The heel is used because it is the same type of bone as the spine and hip. The test is inexpensive, uses no radiation and is very safe.
What Can I Expect During My Test?
To start with, the ultrasound test requires a bare foot (nylons or sock must be removed prior to screening). A small amount of water-based ultrasound gel will be placed on your heel. This helps make the test more accurate. The test takes about one minute after which a report is printed. Our staff will briefly review the results with you and provide you with some helpful information. Depending on your results, you may be referred to your physician for further follow-up.
How Can I Bring This Screening to My Worksite?
For more information, or to schedule an appointment for osteoporosis screening, please call Adventist Health/Wellness Services at 503-261-6611.