What is a Bone Density Test?

What is a Bone Density Test?

Bone mineral density testing, also called bone density testing is a test used to evaluate the quality of the bones. It also shows the chances of fractures in people who are in danger of osteoporosis.

The test alluded to as bone densitometry or bone mineral density scan (BMD), is a direct, noninvasive strategy that takes only a few minutes.

In simple words, a bone mineral density test shows whether you have osteoporosis. It is a word that originates from Greek and truly signifies “porous bone.”

When you have this condition, your bones get feeble and thin. They turn out to probably break. It’s a quiet condition, which implies that one does not feel any side effects.

Without a bone density test, you may not understand you have osteoporosis until the point that you break a bone.

It is different from a bone scan, bone densitometry testing does not include the passing of radioactive contrast material into the circulation system.

How is a Bone Density Test Done?

Bone density test machine
Bone density test machine

The most usually used and known test is known as a dual energy X-beam absorptiometry (DEXA) scan. It may be well performed with gadgets that measure bone density in the hip and spine, or littler fringe gadgets to quantify bone density in the wrist, foot area, or finger.

The central bone density gadget is utilized in hospitals and therapeutic workplaces, while the little fringe gadget is accessible in a few drugstores and in screening sites in the area. The DEXA scan includes a significantly littler radiation administration than a standard chest X-beam.

How does the Bone Density Test work?

The bone density test is easy and fast. It gauges how dense or thick your bones are by making use of X-beams.

The X-beams measures the content of calcium and minerals in the piece of your bone. The more minerals you have, the better. That implies your bones are more grounded, denser, and less inclined to break. The lower your mineral substance, the greater the chamce of having a fracture.

Who Should Get Tested?

Normal bone vs porous bone
Normal bone matrix vs porous bone matrix

Anybody can get osteoporosis. It’s more common among elder women, yet men can have it too. Also, your chances to get osteoporosis increases with age.

You should consult a doctor to know whether you need the test or not. She may suggest it if in case you meet any of the following conditions:

• A woman of 65 or above

• You are a postmenopausal lady of 50 or more

• A lady at the time of menopause have high chances of breaking bones

• You’re a lady who has just experienced menopause or, younger than 65 and have different things that give you a higher possibility of osteoporosis

• A man of 50 or more with other hazard factors

• You break a bone after 50

• If you have lost an excess of 1.5 inches of your height (adult)

• Your pose has become more slouched

• Having back pain without any known cause

• Periods being stopped or irregular in spite of the fact that you are neither pregnant nor menopausal

• You’ve gotten an organ transplant

• A drop in hormone levels

Few types of prescribed medications can also cause bone loss. These would incorporate glucocorticoids, a class of medications used to reduce inflammation. Tell your specialist if in case you have been on:

Cortisone (CortoneAcetate)

• Dexamethasone (Baycadron, Maxidex, Ozurdex)

• Prednisone (Deltasone).

What Causes Osteoporosis (bone loss)?

In premenopausal ladies, estrogen produced in the body keeps up the bone density. Following the beginning of menopause, bone loss occurs every year. It can result in an aggregate loss of 25%-30% of bone density in the initial five to ten years after menopause.

Your specialist can prescribe you to choose when do you require a bone density test. All in all, this testing is prescribed for ladies of 65 and more with more younger postmenopausal ladies who are additionally experiencing the risk factors for osteoporosis, including:

• A history of bone breaks as a grown-up or also any close relative with a past record of bone fractures

• Smoking

• Low estrogen levels

• Vitamin D inadequacy, which can happen because of certain therapeutic conditions

• Excessive liquor or caffeine consumption

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• Weight loss or low body weight

• Early menopause or late beginning of menstrual periods


• Physically inactive

• Taking a prescription [such as prednisone or phenytoin, (Dilantin)] known to cause bone loss

• Hyperparathyroidism

What are the Bone Density Test Results?

Bone density test result
Bone density test result

Your bone density estimation will be compared with the normal pinnacle bone density of younger adults of similar sex. The outcomes are normally announced as a “T score” and a “Z score.”

The T score contrasts your bone density and that healthy young ladies, while the Z score is a correlation of your bone density with that of other individuals of a similar age, sexual orientation, and race.

In either the T or Z score, a negative number means you have more slender bones than the standard. The more negative the number, there are more chances of the level of bone loss.

RELATED: Foods You Should Eat and Avoid for Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is characterized as the start of bone loss and relates perfectly to the score of – 1 to – 2.5. A T score lower than – 2.5 is an indication of osteoporosis.

How to Prepare for a Bone Density Test?

• Do not take calcium supplements for 24 hours before the bone density test.

• If you have had an infusion of barium or contrast dye for a CT scan or MRI, hold up to 7 days before having a central DXA. The contrast dye can meddle with your bone density test.

• Avoid wearing garments with metal zippers, belts, or the buttons.

There is almost no risk in the test. You are presented to low levels of radiation as compared to that of in a chest X-beam or an airplane flight.

How Often Should I Get Tested?

If in case you are taking any treatment for osteoporosis, try to have a bone density test after every 1 to 2 years.

Even if you are not the patient of osteoporosis, your health specialist may still recommend you to get a bone density test after every 2 years, particularly for the ladies amid or after menopause.

Hilary Jensen

Hilary is a Food Science and Nutrition graduate with specialization in diet planning and weight loss. She enjoys reading and writing on Food, Nutrition, Diet, Weight Loss, and General Health.

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