Bone Density Test (Densitometry)
A bone density test, also called densitometry or DEXA scan, can determine if you have osteoporosis or are at risk of osteoporosis before you break any bones.
A bone density test uses special 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 located in the spine, hip and forearm.
People who should a bone density test?
- women who have been on hormone replacement therapy (HRT/ERT) for prolonged periods
- postmenopausal women who sustain a bone fracture
- all postmenopausal women under age 65 who have one or more additional risk factors for osteoporosis (in addition to being postmenopausal and female)
- all women age 65 and older regardless of additional risk factors
- women who are considering therapy for osteoporosis if bone density testing would facilitate the decision
Some of the most common risk factors include:
- Advanced age
- Being Asian or Caucasian
- Low bone mass
- Having a small frame or thin build
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Estrogen deficiency as a result of menopause, especially early or surgically induced
- Anorexia nervosa
- Cigarette smoking
- Excessive alcohol intake