As you age, your bones start becoming fragile and weak. There can be other reasons for a weakening of bones such as prolonged illness, addiction and genetic conditions. Bone densitometry is a test suggested to determine the peripheral bone mineral density (BMD).
A snapshot of the bone is taken that helps identify your risk to fractures, osteoporosis and your chances of recovery. Central dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry or central DXA test is the most recommended and recognized BMD test.
It is painless, almost similar to having an X-ray and measures the bone density at your spine and hip. The test is carried out for the screening purposes. The BMD test measures the mineral density of the bone, compares it to the standard or the established norms for bone density, and present to you a score.
Even though, 100 percent bone density or accuracy is impossible, the test predicts whether your bones are more vulnerable to breakage and fractures.
The score is compared to the bone density score of a healthy 30-year-old individual and accordingly you get a T-score. For example, if you are given a score of 0, it means that your BMD score is equivalent to the score of a normal healthy individual.
Standard deviations (SDs) are a unit used to measure the difference between your BMD and the score of a healthy young adult. If your SDs is below zero it means your score is negative. Higher the BMD, lower your risk of getting fracture and vice-versa.
A bone densitometry test helps the doctors to identify whether you have normal, low (osteopenia) density or osteoporosis. At present, it is the only test that can identify osteoporosis. The test helps your caregiver identify:
You must undergo a BMD test if:
You may also be advised a bone densitometry test if you suffer from either of the following:
People who are undergoing osteoporosis treatment should repeat the BMD test every one to two years.
The benefits of BMD test include:
Excessive exposure to the radiation can increase your chances of cancer, though the benefits outweigh this slight risk. Women should inform the radiologist or the physician if they are pregnant prior to the test as the radiation can stunt the growth of the fetus.
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