All women need to undergo a baseline assessment of bone density at the onset of menopause. A woman may lose up to 40% of her bone mass during the first few years of menopause. If she begins menopause with already low bone stores, she will reach the state of bone loss called osteoporosis.
Men and women with endocrine disorders, such as low growth hormone, low testosterone (andropause), high thyroid hormone (Grave’s Disease), high cortisol hormone (Cushing’s Syndrome), and hyperparathyroidism can also experience bone loss leading to osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis can lead to hip fractures and spontaneous vertebral fractures, which lead to loss of height. Both of these are easily prevented if the diagnosis is made early. There are various therapies available to treat osteoporosis. The earlier that therapy is initiated the less likely the patient is to develop fractures.
DEXA stands for dual energy X-Ray absorptiometry. It is a totally safe, painless, noninvasive way to measure bone density. The amount of x-ray exposure from DEXA is less than 1/10th of the dose you would get from an ordinary chest x-ray.