A bone mineral density test (BMD) is a type of imaging test that measures the mineral content of your bones. It is used to determine if you are at risk for developing osteoporosis, which is a condition marked by weak, brittle bones.
The test is usually done using a machine called a DEXA scanner, which safely measures the amount of calcium and other minerals in your bones. The results of the test are then analysed and compared to the average density of other healthy adults in your age group.
If your BMD is lower than average, it may indicate that you are at risk for developing osteoporosis. The BMD test is a safe, reliable way to determine if you need to take steps to increase your bone health and reduce the your of developing osteoporosis.
Who Should Get a Bone Mineral Density Test?
A bone mineral density test is typically recommended for women over the age of 65 and men over the age of 70.
However, it can also be recommended for younger adults with certain risk factors, such as family history of osteoporosis, low body weight, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and a sedentary lifestyle.
The test is also recommended for people who take medications that can their weaken bones, such as steroids.
Refer to the following list and see if you fit into any of the one or more:
Data source: WebMD.
How is a Bone Mineral Density Test Performed?
The bone mineral density test is performed using a specialised machine called a dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scanner.
During the test, the patient lies down on a table, and an X-ray beam is passed over the bones of his/her hip and spine mainly. The DEXA scanner measures the amount of X-rays that pass through each area and calculates the bone density based on that information.
The results are then compared to a range of “normal” values for someone of the same age and sex, which helps determine if the patient has osteoporosis or other bone-weakening diseases.
Types of Bone Density Tests
Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA)
Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is a medical imaging technique that is used to measure bone mineral density (BMD). It is considered the gold standard for measuring BMD and is used to diagnose conditions such as osteoporosis.
The procedure is quick and painless, and utilises two X-ray beams of different energy levels to generate images of the bones. The DXA scanner then measures the amount of energy that is absorbed by the bones and calculates the BMD. The results are then used to evaluate the patient’s risk for fractures or other complications due to osteoporosis.
DXA is an effective and reliable tool for diagnosing and monitoring osteoporosis, and can help doctors develop appropriate treatment plans for patients.
Peripheral Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (pDXA)
Peripheral Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (pDXA) is a type of bone mineral density test that measures bone density in the spine, hip, wrist, lower arm, heel and fingers. This test is similar to the traditional DEXA, which measures bone density in the hip and spine, but pDXA uses a smaller and more portable device that can be carried across to be used in a doctor’s clinic.
It is also used to measure fat and muscle mass, as well as other soft tissue composition. The results of a pDXA scan can help doctors make informed decisions about treatment and prevention of osteoporosis and other bone-related conditions.
How to Interpret the Results of a Bone Mineral Density Test?
The bone mineral density test results are usually reported in two ways: T-score and Z-score.
The T-score compares your bone density to that of a healthy young adult of your gender.
A T-score of -1.0 or higher is considered normal, while a T-score between -1.0 and -2.5 indicates low bone density (osteopenia) and a T-score of -2.5 or lower indicates osteoporosis.
The Z-score, on the other hand, compares your bone density to that of people of your age, gender and body size.
A Z-score of -2.0 or lower is considered below the expected range for your age, gender and body size.
Based on your BMD test results, your doctor can determine your risk for fractures and recommend appropriate treatment, if necessary.
While BMD tests are largely precise and accurate, your doctor may also take into account other factors such as your medical history, lifestyle and medications for a proper diagnosis.
What Affects Your Bone Mineral Density
Several factors can affect your bone mineral density, including age, gender, genetics, lack of nutrition, lack of exercise, certain medical conditions and certain medications.
Here is a comprehensive list of factors in detail that can contribute to your bone loss.
If at any point you feel that you need to get a bone mineral density test, consult your doctor promptly for an early diagnosis.
What Can You Do to Improve Your Bone Health?
There are several steps you can take to improve your bone health. We’re listing out the important ones for you:
If you feel you’re at risk of osteoporosis, consult your doctor about getting your bone mineral density test done.
A bone mineral density test is a simple and effective way to assess your bone health and detect any early signs of bone loss.
Once your risk for fractures are identified, you can take appropriate steps to prevent and manage osteoporosis.
As part of preventive healthcare, a bone mineral density test is an essential tool in preventing and managing osteoporosis.
If you have a question related to this blog post, write to us here and we will update this post with a response.
If you have any more questions, please feel free to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us directly at +91 9176655912
You can also visit Here to know more about how we can help you and make your life better.
Sources: Mayo Clinic, MedlinePlus, WebMD, Healthline, Johns Hopkins, Cleveland Clinic, NHS, Maya Physio, NCBI (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), NIH, Frontiers, NIAAA, ScienceDirect, Medical News Today.