Osteoporosis (bone loss)

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What is osteoporosis (bone loss)?

Osteoporosis is the medical term for osteoporosis. When there is osteoporosis, the bones become weaker, causing them to break faster. Bone decalcification itself does not cause any complaints, but bone fractures as a result of osteoporosis can be very painful and lead to permanent pain and disability. Typical bone fractures in osteoporosis are vertebral collapse, wrist and hip fractures. These fractures usually occur after an accidental fall, but can even arise spontaneously.

Bone fractures are common with osteoporosis. Half of all women and a quarter of all men will experience this during their lifetime. The main cause of osteoporosis is therefore aging, but the menopause in women also plays a role. Certain diseases or the use of medicines can also contribute to the development of osteoporosis.

Bone density measurement (DEXA scan)

Bone decalcification is determined by a bone density measurement and a picture of the lower vertebrae with a DEXA scan. During this examination, you will lie on an examination couch with an X-ray machine above it. This examination takes about fifteen minutes and is not very taxing.

In this video you can see how a DEXA scan is made.


Bone decalcification is a chronic disease for which various drug treatments are possible. These treatments are effective in preventing bone fractures and can be used long-term and safely. In addition, a lot of scientific research is being done to develop new medicines.

The consultation

When you are referred to the osteoporosis clinic, you will visit the outpatient clinic twice. The first time you get a DEXA scan, is there blood and urine tests done and fill a questionnaire in. During the second appointment you will receive all the results and the internist-endocrinologist will give you personal treatment advice. The results and treatment are then also sent back to your GP.

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We will contact you two months after you have started treatment to find out how you are doing. One year after the treatment you will come back again for a repeat of the DEXA scan and the blood and urine tests to assess whether the treatment is effective. Depending on these examinations, we decide on the continuation of the treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

You don't notice osteoporosis until you break a bone. You don't get pain from osteoporosis, only with vertebral fractures can you get back pain.

You do not need to prepare specially for the DEXA scan. It is useful to wear comfortable clothing without iron-containing parts (such as a bra with underwire or a belt with a buckle). You may eat, drink and take your medication beforehand. During the exam, you will lie on an exam table, first on your back and then on your side, and the DEXA device will slowly slide over your body. It is important that you remain calm.

The osteoporosis screening is a DEXA scan, a blood test and a questionnaire. With the DEXA scan we measure how much calcium there is in the bones, in the blood we check whether there are other diseases that cause osteoporosis and with the questionnaire we look at whether there are other reasons why you break bones.

The DEXA scan takes about 15 minutes. The entire examination, including blood tests, takes 30-60 minutes. The consultation with the doctor takes 30 minutes. You only need to come to Jan van Goyen Medical Center once to have the DEXA scan and blood test. You can also fill in the questionnaire digitally and the consultation with the doctor can also be done by telephone. You may also come for a consultation with the doctor, in which case you will have to come to the Jan van Goyen Medical Center twice.

No, a DEXA scan is not dangerous to your health. During the DEXA scan, X-rays are taken of your spine and hips. The amount of radiation during a DEXA scan is very low, much less than during a regular X-ray.

There are several types of good medicines for osteoporosis that can prevent many bone fractures. Depending on your situation, the doctor will advise you on the best treatment.

No, drug treatment is not always necessary. It depends on the risk of a bone fracture whether it is necessary to treat osteoporosis with drugs. In order to determine the risk of a bone fracture, further research is carried out with a DEXA scan, blood tests and a questionnaire. Depending on this, the doctor will give you personal advice about the best treatment for you.

People over the age of 50 who have a fracture are more likely to have another fracture if they have osteoporosis, which is why we screen for osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis means that there is less calcium in the bones ('bone decalcification') and the bones break more easily.

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