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Bone Densitometry Test


Discussions on "Bone Densitometry Test" in "General Health Problems" forum.


  1. #1
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    Bone Densitometry Test

    Bone densitometry test:
    Measures bone density


    If you have a family history of osteoporosis or have suffered a fracture, then this test is a must.


    Bone densitometry test, what is it?

    Bone densitometry scan (BMD) is a test used to measure calcium content in the bone and predict if you will have osteoporosis in the future. Not until long ago, there was no means to detect osteoporosis till a fracture occurred, and by that time the bones were fairly weak and prone to more fractures. With the advent of this test, doctors can predict your risk of developing a fracture.

    A bone densitometry test or bone mass density test (BMD) should not be confused with a bone scan in which a radioactive dye is injected before imaging to detect tumours, infections and fractures.

    Bone Densitometry Test-bmd1.jpeg



    The world health organisation (WHO) has developed standard guidelines to diagnose osteopenia (low bone mass but not yet osteoporotic) and osteoporosis based on T-score, a standardised scoring system.

    The test is called DEXA, short for Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry.



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    Re: Bone Densitometry Test

    How is BMD different from an X-ray?

    A bone density test measures the calcium content in the bone, thereby its density. Higher the bone density, lesser the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. An X -ray can outline a fracture, but cannot accurately measure osteoporosis in a bone.

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    Re: Bone Densitometry Test

    Who should undergo a bone density test?

    • All women over 65 years of age
    • Women below 65 years with a history of cigarette smoking and low body weight
    • Individuals who have lost height (indicative of a compression fracture of a vertebra)
    • Family history of osteoporosis


    Bone Densitometry Test-bmdosteo.jpeg


    • Past history of a fracture
    • Those who have received an organ or bone marrow transplant
    • People who have been on corticosteroid drugs for a long time
    • Those with thyroid disorders, rheumatoid arthritis
    • Those with dementia, frail bodies or unsteady gait with recent falls
    • Those with lowered hormone levels (in treatment of cancer for e.g. drugs used for prostate cancer leads to a drop in testosterone levels)


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    Re: Bone Densitometry Test

    Importance of measuring BMD

    1. In case osteopenia or osteoporosis is detected, the physician can prescribe drugs to increase bone absorption of calcium.
    2. In case orthopaedic surgery is needed, osteoporosis may affect the surgical outcome and the treatment may need to be modified accordingly.
    3. In case of a fracture placed in a cast, those with weak bones may need to keep the cast on for a longer period.


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    Re: Bone Densitometry Test

    Types of bone density tests
    There are two types, central and peripheral.


    DEXXUM T (Central DXA BMD)

    A central bone density test measures the bone density in bones like the spine, upper end of thigh bone, called the neck near the hip joint.

    EAX 3000 (The multi-site pDXA bone densitometry)
    A peripheral test measures the bone density in the heel, shin of the leg or finger using a small portable machine.
    A central test is more accurate than a peripheral one. The former is usually done at a hospital while the latter can be done at a pharmacy or local clinic.
    Some doctors do a peripheral test and if the result is positive they recommend a central test for greater specificity.




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    Re: Bone Densitometry Test

    How is the bone density test done?

    The central bone density test requires you to lie on a padded platform while a mechanical arm passes over your body for about ten minutes. The amount of radiation used in this test is less than that of a chest X-ray, which makes it completely safe. It is a quick and painless test.

    Bone Densitometry Test-bmd3central.jpeg
    A barium dye or any other dye used to take a contrast X-ray may interfere with the test. So inform your doctor if you have had any imaging tests done before this.

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    Re: Bone Densitometry Test

    How is the bone densitometry test result interpreted?

    The result is read using a T-score. The t-score is a comparative analysis with a normal healthy young adult of the same sex. The number of units or standard deviations from this is called the T-score.

    Bone Densitometry Test-bmd4tscore.jpeg



    If your T-score is -1 and above: Your bone density is normal

    If your T-score is between -1 and -2.5: You have a bone density below normal referred to as osteopenia, which puts you at a risk of osteoporosis
    If your T-score is below -2.5: You have osteoporosis

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    Re: Bone Densitometry Test

    Limitations of a bone density test:

    • It confirms low bone density, but cannot reveal the reason for low density. Further evaluation and tests are needed to uncover the cause.
    • The central version is expensive and may not be covered by your health insurance.
    • The central and peripheral versions will give different results if both are done.


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    Re: Bone Densitometry Test

    Good post Subha, thanks for sharing da

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    Re: Bone Densitometry Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Nishahameetha View Post
    Good post Subha, thanks for sharing da
    Thank you Nish dear...

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