Osteoporosis Diagnosis – More Than Quantitative Testing
Early diagnosis of osteoporosis is vital to helping people maintain good bone strength and avoid debilitating fractures as they age. Osteoporosis diagnosis is thought by some to rest on the results of various technology-driven osteoporosis tests, such as bone mineral density tests. However, rather than technology, it is physicians who determine osteoporosis diagnosis. Physicians’ evaluation of clinical risk factors, lifestyle habits and other issues should be combined with quantitative measurement in order to ensure accurate diagnosis of osteoporosis, and long-term monitoring of the disease.
The Importance of Osteoporosis Diagnosis for Long-term Bone Health
As a progressive systemic skeletal disease, Osteoporosis is accepted as a major public health problem, with huge associated cost. Osteoporosis-related fractures increase dramatically with age and they often cause rapid deterioration in health, with considerable contribution to mortality. While osteoporosis cannot be reversed, it can be effectively managed by early diagnosis of bone mass loss and by prevention of further loss. Diagnosis of osteoporosis at the early stages can improve people’s quality of life and bring down direct and indirect costs.
Widespread diagnosis of osteoporosis requires that patient populations have easy and affordable access to physicians who are qualified and experienced in osteoporosis diagnosis, and also to osteoporosis testing technologies for quantitative measurement of bone fragility.
Measurement Tests Used for Diagnosis Osteoporosis
Technologies that assist in osteoporosis diagnosis and monitoring include:
- DXA-based bone mineral density testing – the traditional technology utilized for osteoporosis diagnosis
- Quantitative ultrasound-based assessment of bone strength – a relative new alternative where access to DXA is limited
How Sunlight Products Help in Early Assessment and Osteoporosis Diagnosis
BeamMed’s Sunlight products, which utilize BeamMed’s proprietary quantitative ultrasound-based Omnipath Axial Transmission Technology, assist in osteoporosis diagnosis by providing an easily accessible and affordable alternative to DXA testing for early assessment of osteoporosis.
Sunlight devices provide a quantitative measurement of the velocity of ultrasonic waves propagating along the bones – i.e. Speed of Sound, or SoS, in m/sec. SoS provides a measure of skeletal fragility. Skeletal fragility is an important considering in osteoporosis diagnosis and monitoring.
The output of measurement with Sunlight devices is expressed as a Z score and a T score, in addition to SoS in m/sec. These scores can be used in conjunction with other clinical risk factors to assist physicians in the diagnosis of osteoporosis and other medical conditions leading to reduced bone strength. Ultimately, the results can be used in the determination of fracture risk.
SoS is accurate enough to make it suitable for monitoring bone changes which occur during the years of accelerated growth and in the early years following menopause – a period of life in which osteoporosis diagnosis is especially important.
Sunlight quantitative ultrasound measurement is valuable for early diagnosis of osteoporosis where DXA is not universally or readily available. For example, where patients cannot access DXA tests due to geographic distance from DXA-equipped medical centers, or because of the relatively high cost of DXA equipment and testing.