March 9 2007 - ATHENS

For Immediate Release

March 9, 2007

John Moore
Media Relations
(903) 531-4542


Trinity Clinic Patients Now Have Easier Access to Testing Services for Bone Disease

ATHENS, TX - Officials with Trinity Clinic-Athens announced the addition of a clinical bone densitometer-adding bone density testing to its expanding list of health services for Trinity Clinic patients.

Based on a technology called Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry-or DXA-the bone densitometer measures the bone mineral content and density of specific bone sites (mainly the hip and spine) that are most susceptible to fracture due to osteoporosis and other degenerative bone diseases. The prevalence of these diseases, especially in post-menopausal women, makes bone densitometry a necessary part of a complete bone health program for women.

"This is the first unit of its kind at Trinity Clinic-Athens," said Mike Houston, radiology operations manager, Trinity Clinic. "Many women who are Trinity Clinic patients were referred to Tyler for testing. The procedure itself is so simple, we felt that by making the location more convenient, more women would take advantage of the service. It also gives area gynecologists, internists and family practitioners a local option for referrals."

Bone density testing is fast and painless. It requires no injections or invasive procedures. During a test, a woman lies fully clothed on a padded treatment table while the machine scans one or more areas of bone. The entire test normally takes only minutes to complete. And even though the machine emits x-rays, the radiation dose during the test is less than the radiation exposure during a coast-to-coast airline flight.

"All women over age 50 or past menopause should talk to their doctors about their risk of developing osteoporosis," encourages Houston. "It's much higher than most women realize. The statistics released by the National Osteoporosis Foundation are quite grim. One out of every two women past menopause will develop the disease and one out of three will fracture. We now have drugs that have been shown to actually reverse the bone-loss process. Somehow, it seems all the more tragic that a woman loses her independent lifestyle because of a hip fracture that could have been prevented."

According to the American College of Radiology and the Radiological Society of North America, bone density testing is strongly recommended if you:
· are a post-menopausal woman and not taking estrogen.
· have a personal or maternal history of hip fracture or smoking.
· are a post-menopausal woman who is tall (over 5 feet 7 inches) or thin (less than 125 pounds).
· are a man with clinical conditions associated with bone loss.
· use medications that are known to cause bone loss, including corticosteroids such as Prednisone, various anti-seizure medications such as Dilantin and certain barbiturates, or high-dose thyroid replacement drugs.
· have type 1 (formerly called juvenile or insulin-dependent) diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease or a family history of osteoporosis.
· have high bone turnover, which shows up in the form of excessive collagen in urine samples.
· have a thyroid condition, such as hyperthyroidism.
· have experienced a fracture after only mild trauma.
· have had x-ray evidence of vertebral fracture or other signs of osteoporosis.

The Lateral Vertebral Assessment, a low-dose x-ray examination of the spine to screen for vertebral fractures that is performed on the DEXA machine, may be recommended for older patients, especially if:
· they have lost more than an inch of height
· have unexplained back pain
· if a DEXA scan gives borderline readings.

Trinity Clinic-Athens includes Stephen Walling, MD, internal medicine; Steven Helf, MD, internal medicine; J. Elaine Shaw, MD, pediatrics; and Barbara Taylor, PA-C, family medicine. Specialists who see patients at Trinity Clinic-Athens include William Phillips, MD, Trinity Clinic Orthopedics and Joseph McMally, Jr., MD, Trinity Clinic-Corsicana Allergy and Asthma.

In addition to bone densitometry, services provided at the Clinic include radiology, MRI, laboratory, EKG, audiometry, mammography, and spirometry (lung testing).

With more than 200 physicians representing 33 specialties, Trinity Clinic is the preferred multispecialty physician group serving north central, east and northeast Texas. For more than 70 years, Trinity Mother Frances Health System has built a reputation as a medical leader in providing compassionate and quality care. Patients of Trinity Clinic physicians benefit from the well-coordinated network of care providers in terms of quality, practice economies and referrals.

For an appointment with a Trinity Clinic-Athens physician or clinician, call 903-675-1725. For more information on all services available through Trinity Clinic-Athens and Trinity Mother Frances Health System, visit

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