Most people think they only need medical imaging scans—like an X-ray, MRI, or ultrasound— when your doctor is searching for an answer to something that’s already ailing you. But when it comes to women's health, medical imaging is a vital tool in preventative care.
In recent years, Columbia Memorial Health has significantly increased access to state-of-the-art preventative imaging technology, including 3D mammography and 3D breast biopsy technology. These two scans can give women greater peace of mind that early, advanced detection of breast cancer provides.
A third scan that is particularly important for women, especially as they hit menopause, is bone densitometry. This exam is used for early detection of osteoporosis by measuring minerals within your bones. “Since bones thin as you age, the threat of fractures becomes especially dangerous,” says Dr. Tariq Gill, chief of radiology at Columbia Memorial Health.
By interpreting the results of a bone densitometry scan against other women in the same age group, a doctor can proactively treat bone health before any accident or fall should occur. “The bone densitometry screening is not to make a diagnosis of thin bones, but to monitor your bone health to prevent catastrophic complications later on,” says Gill.
According to Rhonda Makoske, Columbia Memorial Health’s director of medical imaging, the bone densitometry scan can be completed in a quick 10 minutes. Patients don’t even have to change out of their clothes. They simply lay on a flat bed while the equipment moves over top of them. The data gathered by the software then creates a report that is interpreted by the radiologist, who will provide the assessment.
Before recommending a preventative bone densitometry scan, your doctor should complete a risk assessment for osteoporosis. Menopause is of course a primary contributor to thinning bones, but according to Gill, people who are diabetic, have kidney or lung issues, or regularly take medications like steroids or anti-epileptics can have a predisposition to osteoporosis.
Columbia Memorial Health’s medical imaging services are available to patients in Columbia and Greene counties at three locations—the hospital in Hudson, Catskill-based Greene Medical Imaging, and Valatie Medical Imaging. Patients can call (518) 828-8224 to make an imaging appointment at any of the three locations.