How do doctors do a bone density test?

How do doctors do a bone density test?

The test uses X-rays to measure how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals are packed into a segment of bone. The bones that are most commonly tested are in the spine, hip and sometimes the forearm.

What type of doctor does bone density test?

In most cases, a bone density scan is done in a radiology department or clinic by a technologist. Peripheral dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (P-DXA) machines are portable units that can be used in a doctor’s office.

When do you need a bone density scan?

Who needs to have a bone density scan. You may need to have a bone density scan if you’re: The results from a bone density scan are usually used alongside a fracture risk assessment to assess your chances of osteoporosis and breaking a bone. Osteoporosis can affect anyone at any age, although older postmenopausal women are particularly at risk.

How are the results of a bone density test distributed?

The results for the entire population will be distributed around an average score (the mean). A T-score is a standard deviation — a mathematical term that calculates how much a result varies from the average or mean.

Can a doctor tell if you have low bone density?

Although you may have low bone density when you have your first test, your doctor cannot tell if you have lost bone density or if you have always had lower bone density due to family or medical history. Your peak adult bone mass may have been below that of the average individual.

When to get a bone density test after menopause?

In premenopausal women, estrogen produced in the body maintains bone density. Following the onset of menopause, bone loss increases each year and can result in a total loss of 25%-30% of bone density in the first five to ten years after menopause. Your doctor can help you decide when and if you need a bone density test.

How often should you have a bone density test?

Experts say that older women should have regular bone density tests to screen for osteoporosis. But it’s been unclear how often to repeat the tests. A new study suggests that women with healthy bone density on their first test might wait 15 years before getting rescreened.

How often should I have a bone density scan?

Just how often the bone density scan needs to be done is up for debate. One new study says that it is a good idea to do the bone density scan every five years unless there are signs indicating a high level of risk which could cause the need for shorter intervals between screening.

What is a bone density test and how long does it take?

The test usually takes about 10 to 30 minutes. A small, portable machine can measure bone density in the bones at the far ends of your skeleton, such as those in your finger, wrist or heel. The instruments used for these tests are called peripheral devices, and are often found in pharmacies.

When to get a bone density test to detect osteoporosis?

If you are taking medication for osteoporosis, expect to have a bone density test every 1 to 2 years. Even if you don’t have osteoporosis, your doctor may suggest that you get a bone density test every 2 years, especially for women during or after menopause.