Bones are made of living tissues, which are constantly being dissolved and replenished. Osteoporosis happens when bones lose minerals (like calcium), faster than can be replaced. Osteoporotic bone loses density or mass. They weaken and are more likely to break. A broken bone can be caused by small fractures or falls. There are ways to determine the strength of your bones and to treat the bone loss before it becomes serious.
What Is A Bone Density Test And How Does It Work?
A bone density scan is a special low-radiation X-ray. Also known as DXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), it measures bone mineral densities to determine if a patient may have or be at risk for osteoporosis.DXA can be performed quickly and is non-invasive. It usually takes less than 10 minutes and doesn’t require any preparation.
Two Categories Of DXA Test Results Will Be Provided: T-Score Or Z-Score
A bone density score is a comparison of your bone mineral densities to those of a healthy young adult. So, for example, older men might have their bone health checked against that of a healthy young man.
You don’t need to be worried if your T-score is below -1. If the T score is between -1 to -2.5, then you may have osteopenia. Osteoporosis can also be called bone loss.
The Z-score is an indicator of your bone density relative to the average bone density for people of your age, gender, or ethnicity. This scoring system can be used for children, women before menopause, and people under 50. If your results are lower than or equal to the average, doctors may recommend further monitoring and future testing for bone density. They also might check to see if any current medical conditions or medications could be causing further loss of bone density.
How Can You Test For Bone Density?
The doctor can determine bone density and assess if the patient is at high risk for fractures, breaks, and sprains. It can also help guide treatment, especially if there are other issues.
Who Should Have A Bone Density Test Done?
You should consider several factors when deciding if you are eligible to have a bone density exam. High levels of alcohol, certain medications, and pre-existing medical conditions can increase the risk of osteoporosis.
Several Indicators Indicate Bone Mineral Density (BMD), Testing:
- Women over 65 are eligible
- If a woman is younger than 65 years old and has a high-risk factor for low bone mass (e.g.:
- Low body weight
- Previous fracture
- High-risk medication use
- Women in menopause have clinical risk factors for fracture such as low body weight, previous fractures, high-risk medication use, or low body fat.
- Men over 70 years of age
- Adults suffering from a condition that causes low bone mass (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis)
- Adults who are taking medication that causes low bone mass or bone losses, such as oral steroids.
When Should You Have A Bone Density Test?
Based on your risk factors and health profile, your doctor might recommend a test for bone density after fractures, aging, or a reduction in hormones. Experts recommend that older women (65 years or more) should be screened for osteoporosis. But, younger women and men may also need to be tested.
How Can You Prepare For A Bone Density Test?
DXA tests are performed without any preparation. Your doctor might advise you to discontinue taking calcium supplements 24 hours before your DXA test.
Final Thoughts About Bone Density And How They Work
Aging can be painful. It is possible for the spine, hips, or other bones to lose bone mass, which can cause serious physical problems. While it is important to make an effort to lower your risk of falling and to be more careful with certain activities, the extra information from a bone density test can help to ensure that you are as safe and healthy.
Click here to learn more about Bone Density Test. Lifeline Medical Associates offers the best services for bone density tests.