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New Device Helps Determine Risk For Osteoporosis

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RALEIGH — The newest way to fight off osteoporosis is available in the Triangle.

Fractures or a painful curvature of the spine, resulting in a Dowagers Hump, are just two ways osteoporosis steals quality of life.

"In the past, osteoporosis was a disease that was fairly silent until the damaging effects were apparent," says Dr. Joseph Melameda, a radiologist.

A new machine at Wake Radiology reads the thickness of hip bones and the spine.

The computerized X-ray device lets doctors measure bone mineral density. It generates a digital image of the targeted bones, allowing doctors to compares the patient's bone density to a database of normal, healthy bones.

"This machine allows us to identify those patients who may have osteoporosis and are at risk of having an osteoperodic fracture in much the same ways measuring blood pressure allows us to diagnose hypertension before someone would have a stroke," says Melamed.

The bone densitometry test is painless, and you do not even have to get undressed.

While women are at a higher risk for osteoperosis, the test can benefit men, too.

"About 30 percent of all males will be osteoperodic sometime during their lifetime," he says.

The test is covered by most insurance companies, and for those in a high risk category, it is covered by Medicare.

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