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What is Bone Mineral Density?

A Bone Mineral Density test determines whether you have osteoporosis or are at risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become more fragile and more likely to break.
A bone density test uses X-rays to measure how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals are packed into a segment of bone. A bone density test is a fairly accurate predictor of your risk of fracture.


Why it is done?

Doctors use bone density testing to:

  • Identify decreases in bone density before you break a bone
  • Determine your risk of broken bones (fractures)
  • Confirm a diagnosis of osteoporosis if you've experienced broken bones
  • Monitor osteoporosis treatment

It is recommended to take this test if,

  • You're a woman age 65 or older
  • You're a postmenopausal woman under age 65 with one or more risk factors for osteoporosis
  • You're a man age 70 or older
  • You're a man between age 50 and 70 with one or more risk factors for osteoporosis
  • You're older than age 50 and you've experienced a broken bone
  • You're a postmenopausal woman and you've stopped taking estrogen therapy or hormone therapy

Hoe to prepare for Bone Mineral Density?

Bone density tests are easy, fast and painless. Virtually no preparation is needed. In fact, some simple versions of the bone density tests can be done at your local pharmacy or drugstore.

If you're having the test done at a medical center or hospital, be sure to tell your doctor beforehand if you've had recent oral contrast or nuclear medicine tests. These tests require an injection of radioactive tracers that might interfere with your bone density test.