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Bone Density Test - Who Needs It & Why

Bone Density Test - Who Needs It & Why

Bone Mineral Density (BMD) is an indicator of osteoporosis and fracture risk. The lower the BMD, the higher is the risk. To find out the bone density, a scanner called DEXA is used. DEXA is currently the most widely used test for BMD.

Low Bone Density

Low bone density is when your bone density is lower than normal, but not low enough to be considered osteoporosis. It may mean that you have a greater chance of getting osteoporosis if you lose bone in the future because you have less bone to lose. People with low bone density are more likely to break a bone compared to people with normal bone density.

Who needs to undergo BMD test? Any person who is at risk needs to undergo this test. The test can help to prevent, control or postpone osteoporosis.

Some of the factors that reduce bone density are -

  1. Gender - women are more susceptible than men.
  2. Age
  3. Menopause
  4. Family history
  5. Steroid medication
  6. Body weight - those who are underweight are more at risk
  7. Excess intake of alcohol, carbonated beverages
  8. Smoking
  9. Reduced physical activity
  10. Lack of calcium and vitamin D

Detecting Low Bone Density

A bone density test will determine whether you have normal bone density, low bone density or osteoporosis. Having low bone density does not necessarily mean you are losing bone. Your bone density may still be considered normal for you. Some people never have normal bone density for a variety of reasons, including genetics, body size or certain diseases and conditions. The older you are, the more likely you are to have low bone density.

Who needs to undergo BMD test? Any person who is at risk needs to undergo this test. The test can help to prevent, control or postpone osteoporosis.

The results of a BMD test are normally given as T-score and Z-score.

  • T-score of -1 or higher is considered normal.
  • T-score between -1 and -2.5 is called osteopenia
  • T-score of 2.5 or lower is osteoporosis.
  • A negative Z-score means you have thinner bones than the average person of your age and a positive Z-score means that you are better.¬†

Meet your doctor to find out if you need the BMD test. If you undergo the first test, your doctor will be able to tell you if you need to take the next test depending upon your bone health status.

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