Home / Bone Densitometry Spine and Femur Test

Most people think of osteoporosis as an older women’s disease. Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become weak, thin and more likely to fracture. Fractures from osteoporosis can result in significant pain and disability. Lupus patients are at increased risk for osteoporosis for many reasons:

  • Daily use of corticosteroids in the treatment and management of lupus can lead to a loss of bone density rapidly.
  • Inflammation of blood vessels can obstruct blood flow to the bone cells.
    The muscle weakness and extreme fatigue common in Lupus can lead to a lack of physical activity which helps preserve bone strength.
  • Exposure to sunlight is an important source of Vitamin D which helps the body adsorbs calcium. Many lupus patients are photosensitive and become ill when exposed too much sunlight. Patients deliberately avoid exposure to sunlight to prevent flare ups of the disease hence their daily use of supplement in Vitamin D and Calcium.

The big conundrum for patients with lupus is figuring out whether they are losing bone density. Unfortunately, bone mass can deteriorate with no outward symptoms until a fracture occurs. This is why people who take steroids should have bone density tests every one to two years (or frequently, depending on their drug dosage).

There are several types of scans available. The DXA, or dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan is one of the most effective. The DXA machine that measures bone density of the spine, hip or total body is not available in government hospitals. This test is currently done in certain private clinics. Since 2011, more than 300 patients have done the test.