Avera Medical Minute: DEXA scan helps determine osteoporosis for Sioux Falls women

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Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 9:39 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - It’s important to keep up with your bone health, especially as we age. Women 65 and older are especially at risk of having thin, weak bones known as osteoporosis. At Avera, a scan is revealing important information to help patients combat weak bones.

Kathleen Hogfors is in her 70′s, so her doctor, Leah Prestbo recommended she get a DEXA scan completed. It’s a low-radiation x-ray that provides doctors a better image of the degree of bone density loss in a patient’s body.

“It was very easy, it was very convenient. It took maybe half an hour and the gal that did it was pleasant. Turned out she knew my daughter,” Hogfors said.

The machine photographs the spine, hip, and forearm. Then it analyzes the images.

“This is a view of the right hip and we’re looking at T scores,” said Dr. Prestbo.

“At or below a 2.5 at any of the skeletal site that we measure, you have your diagnosis,” she added.

Now that Hagfors knows she has osteoporosis, she’s making lifestyle changes to improve her bone health.

”I’m trying not to gain weight because I don’t think that can help and I’m more careful when I walk up and down the stairs,” said Hogfors.

“I do not want to break my hip. My daughter is a doctor at Avera and she says ‘Mom, don’t fall. If you fall, you break your hip, you get pneumonia, and die.’”

Dr. Prestbo says having good lifelong habits can help deter bone loss in your 40s and 50s. She says those teen and young adult years are an especially crucial time to be building peak bone mass.

“Make sure you’re getting plenty of calcium plenty of exercise and avoiding things like smoking or excessive alcohol because those things can damage bones. If you are past that point of building peak bone mass still important to make sure you are getting the recommended daily amount of vitamin D and calcium in your diet for your age group,” said Dr. Prestbo.

Adding weight-bearing exercises to your workout routine can also help.

Kathleen has this advice for other women concerned about osteoporosis, “Don’t wait. If you’re ready you should do it, do it and I would send her to Dr. Prestbo, which is what I recommend to all my lady friends. You should have a lady doctor and I know just the one.”

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