The main aim of a bone density test is to find out if the patient has osteoporosis, which is characterized by weakness and breaking of bones and to diagnose of breast cancer. This article has information about preparing for the test, its procedure, and some facts related to this test.
A bone density test is also called DXA scan or densitometry. It gives exact information about the possibility of your bones breaking in advance. The content of minerals like calcium in the bone segments are determined by this test using the X-ray technique.
A bone density test helps to know about the fractures, identifying weakness in bones, arriving at a conclusion of whether a person is suffering from osteoporosis and keeping a tab on the treatment for osteoporosis. According to the set guidelines and suggestions of the National Osteoporosis Foundation, aged women above sixty-five years of age, women below sixty-five but with risks of osteoporosis, men between the age group of fifty and seventy with osteoporosis risks, men above seventy years of age and people with broken bones should get the bone density test done.
Many doctors suggest that there should be a good gap of around two years between two tests. You should take a decision of taking the test only after consulting your doctor, who will suggest you the right time after studying your case thoroughly on the points like how serious your osteoporosis risk factors are and your past medical history.
Preparing for the Test
The preparation for a bone density test is very easy because these tests are completed fast and are not painful.
- Submit a fully filled questionnaire about your medical history to the doctor.
- Inform your doctor about your previous nuclear medicine and oral contrast tests.
- Inform your doctor of radiation exams conducted earlier.
- Do not consume calcium containing foods at least two days before the bone density test.
- Do not go ahead with the test, immediately after consuming a contrast material like barium.
- Do not take the normal osteoporosis medicines on the day of the test.
- Be calm and relax as apart from calcium intake, there might not be changes in your diet.
- Report about all small and serious injuries like hip and back injury to doctors and physicians.
- Ensure that you are comfortable wearing the clothes given to you during the test.
- Do not wear buttons or metal zippers.
Bone density tests are conducted on the bones of your lower spine, thigh bones and wrist and forearm bones. During the test, you lie on the central device, which measures your bone density. The bone density at hips and spine is calculated using dual energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) scan. When you are lying on the bed, an image scanner passes across your body and measures the density in just ten minutes time.
Bone density can also be measured by using a peripheral device, which is measured on the fingers and your wrists. If you have a small budget, you can go for the peripheral device instead of central devices. In the peripheral device bone density measurement, the diagnosis may be confirmed by a scan at your hip and spine due to the varying of bone density across the body.
Some Facts Related To Bone Density Test
A Bone Mineral Density (BMD) test is used to measure the mineral density in bones, using Computed Tomography (CT) scan or X-rays. As per the medical studies, the risk of breast cancer rises with a rise in the mineral density of the bones. Thus, the bone density test for cancer is a boon for many people. However, keep in mind that this test can only tell you about the fact of low density in your bones and not the exact reason behind it.
The results of the bone density test are given in the form of T-score and Z-score. I hope this article will prove to be of great use for you.