March 20, 2023
A bone density test determines if you have osteoporosis — a disorder characterized by bones that are more fragile and more likely to break.
The test uses X-rays to measure how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals are in a segment of bone. The bones that are most commonly tested are in the spine, hip and sometimes the forearm.
Having adequate levels of vitamin D is important to maintain bone density along with other cofactors. Patients can speak to their physician/ PCP about getting their levels tested if they haven’t done so and get appropriate supplementation.
Doctors use bone density testing to:
- Identify decreases in bone density before you break a bone
- Determine how easy you may be able to break a bone
- Confirm if you may or may not have osteoporosis
- Monitor osteoporosis treatment
When should you get a bone scan?
Younger women and men, ages 50-69 should consider the test if they have risk factors such as:
- Breaking a bone in a minor accident
- Having Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Having a parent who broke a hip
- Drinking heavily
- Having a low body weight
- Using corticosteroid drugs for three months or more
- Having a very low vitamin D level
- Osteoporosis is a common medical disorder that affects more than 8.9 million fractures annually
- Osteoporosis affects more than 25 million Americans
- Osteoporotic fractures can occur on any bone in your body
Factors that may increase your risk for osteoporosis include:
- Body Size
- Family History