Early osteoporosis diagnosis is important and can help prevent fractures from occurring in the first place. A bone density test is safe and painless and will help your doctor determine whether or not you have osteoporosis.
Bone Density Testing: The DEXA Scan
The “DEXA” scan (Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) is a safe, painless way to measure the density of your bones.
During the DEXA scan, you lay fully clothed on a table while small amounts of x-rays are transmitted through your bones. The amount of x-rays passing through your bones is measured, and the greater the amount of x-rays that pass through, the less dense your bones are.
The density of bones is called bone mineral density (BMD).
Understanding Bone Mineral Density
BMD test results are given as a “T-score”
Bone mineral density test results are given as a “T-score”. The T-score is a measuring system used to compare your bone density to an established standard (that of a young adult of the same gender).
The higher your T-score, the more dense your bone. A T-score above -1 is considered normal; a T-score between -1 and -2.5 indicates low bone mass (osteopenia); and a T-score below -2.5 indicates osteoporosis.
Physicians will use your T-score and age, along with other risk factors you may have to assess your risk for fracture, and possibly come to an osteoporosis diagnosis.
Bone mineral density tests can be arranged with your healthcare practitioner.
If you feel you may be suffering from osteoporosis, take the fracture risk assessment.