Bone Density Test, Osteoporosis Screening & T-score Interpretation

What Is A Bone Density Test:

what is a bone density test

It is important that you review your BMD test results with your doctor for a full explanation of what they mean for you. Any diagnoses or treatment recommendations would be based on your BMD test results, article source age, and other fracture risk factors that you may have. In some cases, your doctor may refer you to a specialist. A bone density test is an imaging test that measures the strength of your bones.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances. QUS scans are helpful because the machinery is portable and does not produce any harmful radiation. However, QUS scans may be less reliable and accurate than DXA or QCT scans. However, a person cannot wear any metallic piercings or accessories during a DXA or QCT scan, as metal can interfere with X-ray radiation. These sound waves echo as they come into contact with the bones and build up a picture of the inside of the body. The more bone material a person has in their bones, the higher their bone density will be.

For example, a male with a T-score of -1 has a bone density that is 1 unit of measurement less than that of the average young male. Osteoporosis is a condition that causes people to lose bone mass. According to one 2020 overview of the condition, osteoporosis affects around 70% of people over the age of 80 years.

what is a bone density test

I realize that I have osteoporosis; this is something that I have been dealing with for the past 20 years. In 2010, after using the FRAX calculator and speaking to my doctor, I stopped taking Fosamax. I was always a good milk drinker and am a little big-boned, so I am try this at a loss as to why I ever developed osteoporosis. Over the years, the diagnosis would switch between osteopenia and osteoporosis. Special detectors in the DEXA machine measure how much radiation passes through your bones, and this information is sent to a computer.

This information on bone density and osteoporosis was adapted from materials from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). Women are at higher risk for osteoporosis than men, and the risk increases with age. After you stop taking any of these bone-building medications, you generally will need to take another osteoporosis drug to maintain the new bone growth.

You’re exposed to very low levels of radiation, less than a chest X-ray or an airplane flight. Peripheral tests are also a way to screen people, so those who show a greater chance for osteoporosis can get more testing. They are also used for larger people who cannot get the central DXA because of weight limits. It’s more common among older women, but men can have it, too.

Most doctors call for repeating the test in 2 years after you have it the first time. But other groups like the National Osteoporosis Foundation still support repeat testing every 1 to 2 years during treatment. A person may wish to contact their doctor to discuss their treatment options. According to a 2016 study, a T-score of -2.5 or less can be an indication that a person has osteoporosis.

Other facilities may use a separate scanner to evaluate the wrist. If you are taking medication for osteoporosis, expect to have a bone density test every 1 to 2 years. After the test, a radiologist interprets your imaging scans. The radiologist sends the results to your primary care or referring provider.

It is painless, non-invasive, and takes about 10 minutes. Medical experts recommend avoiding all radiation exposure during pregnancy to protect the developing fetus. Tell your provider if you’re pregnant or think you might be pregnant. As with any medical test, bone density should be repeated when the results might influence treatment plans. It is often repeated 1-2 years after starting or changing osteoporosis medication to evaluate response to treatment.

Even if you don’t have osteoporosis, your doctor may suggest that you get a bone density test every 2 years, especially for women during or after menopause. Usually the test examines the bones in your spine, hip, and forearm. These are the bones that are most likely to break when you have osteoporosis. These would include glucocorticoids, a class of drugs used to reduce inflammation. Tell your doctor if you’ve been on cortisone (Cortone Acetate), dexamethasone (Baycadron, Maxidex, Ozurdex), or prednisone (Deltasone). The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice.

Some guidelines also recommend screening men by age 70, especially if they have health issues likely to cause osteoporosis. If you have a broken bone after a minor force injury, such as a simple fall, bone density testing may be important to assess your risk of more breaks. Some women are at greater risk for osteoporosis ‘ the decrease of bone mass and density as a result of the depletion of bone calcium and protein ‘ than others.

These can help doctors detect low bone density before it becomes severe or detect osteoporosis so that a person can begin treatment. During a DXA or QCT scan, a doctor will use a machine that can emit and detect X-rays. A person’s bones will absorb different amounts of these X-rays depending on the mineral density of their bones. The test uses X-rays to measure how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals are packed into a segment of bone. The bones that are most commonly tested are in the spine, hip and sometimes the forearm.

Your personal items will be put in a safe place (like a locker) while you are having the test. You must bring proof of identification and your health insurance card to the appointment. You will be able to drive yourself home after the test, so you don’t need to bring someone with you.

A bone density scan uses low dose X-rays to see how dense (or strong) your bones are. You might not know you have the disease see until you break a bone. That’s why it’s so important to get a bone density test to measure your bone strength.

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