Upstate News

May 12, 2003
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Women are failing to be tested for weak bones, says osteoporosis prevention program director

The regional director of the state’s osteoporosis prevention program believes not enough women are being tested for osteoporosis.

And those who are, may not be tested with most appropriate measurement for bone density.

Arnold Moses, M.D., regional director of the New York State Osteoporosis Prevention and Education Program and director of the Metabolic Bone Disease Center at SUNY Upstate Medical University, says it is imperative that all women, especially those over the age of 65, undergo a bone mineral density test to determine the risk for bone fracture.

Moses hopes that during the month of May, which has been designated National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month, women will ask their physicians to schedule an appointment for a bone mineral density test.

“Women, especially those over 65, should know their bone density reading just like they know their cholesterol level,” he said. “Many women find out too late, such as after they’ve fallen, that their bones are brittle and unhealthy.”

Moses says even at age 65 it is not too late to adopt a health regimen that will create stronger bones. Diets rich in calcium and Vitamin D as well as a daily exercise, such as walking, can help prevent osteoporosis. For someone, whose bone density indicates the presence of disease, medications are available.

Moses cautions women who do get a bone mineral density test to request one done by a Dexascan machine. The technology provides the most accurate reading of bone density by scanning the hip and lower spine. “Other tests measure the bone mineral density of heel and finger,” he said. “This does not allow a physician to get the most accurate reading of one’s bone health. We’re more concerned with someone fracturing a hip than a finger.”

The average bone mineral density scan takes about 15 minutes. Patients undergo the scan fully dressed and there is no need to drink or take any medication or medium prior to the scan. Results are available immediately.

By knowing one’s susceptibility to osteoporosis, physicians can put together an osteoporosis prevention program that may help prevent a fracture, Moses said. “The 15 minutes it takes to have an accurate bone mineral density reading is a wonderful investment toward ensuring a healthy, active and full life,” he said.

Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. The most common fractures are of the hip and always require hospitalization and major surgery to correct. While women are more than four times more likely then men to have the disease, men can suffer from osteoporosis.

For more information on osteoporosis prevention, go to

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