ETHEL SIRIS: The common bonedensity test is called a DEXA.It's a long table.
SPEAKER: And just keepyour hands at your sides.
ETHEL SIRIS: You lie down on it,usually fully clothed.Nothing hurts.There's nothing stuck into you.A machine arm goesover your spine, and then you'repositioned a little differentlyand it goes over your hips.Sometimes you then sit upand have your arm done,but that isn't always done.And it takes about 10 to 15minutes.Very low radiation.Much, much less than a chestX-ray.And it's pretty easy and prettysafe.
INTERVIEWER: Whatabout these little tiny ankletesting things?Are they adequate?
ETHEL SIRIS: Well, as screeningtools, there are waysof measuring bone densityat other skeletal sites,such as the heel.And I think those kinds of testsare great in elderly people.Because if you'relow at the heel when you'reelderly, the odds are,you're really low in general.
Any skeletal site that's lowis a clue that you have somewhatincreased risk for fracture.If you're primarilyinterested in hip, you'd sort oflike to measure the hip.The other thing is, you can'tmonitor people very well usinga heel or a forearm measurement.You can best monitor peopleby looking at the spineor the hip.
And even the words "osteopenia,""osteoporosis" are basedon spine and hip measurements.So, strictly speaking, if you'relow at the heel, yes, your riskis higher.But it's harder to define whereyou fit.
And in youngerpost-menopausal women,you're more likely to seean early change at the spinethan you would beat the other sites.As you grow older, your spinegets more arthritic, typically.The spine measurements are lesshelpful.The hip measurement becomesthe most useful.