Osteoporosis and Bone Density Tests

Bone density tests check how healthy your bones are by measuring a small part of one or a few of them. It is a way to measure the strength of your bones, and people get a bone-density test every few years. The main reason to have the test is to find and treat severe bone loss, called osteoporosis, and prevent fractures and disability. The results can help your doctor know how you can manage or prevent bone loss and breaches.

Who Should Have a Bone Density Test?

According to the reports, Bone Density tests are recommended for:

  • All women ages 65 and older
  • Younger women with a higher-than-normal chance of fracture for their period

Types of Bone Density Tests

Two types of machines can measure bone density. Central mechanisms test it in the hip, spine, and total body. Doctors can use them to do different kinds of bone density tests:

  • DXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) measures the spine, hip, or total body. Doctors consider this test the foremost helpful and reliable for checking bone density.
  • QCT (quantitative computed tomography) usually measures the spine, but it can test other sites, too. You often get this test to see how well osteoporosis treatments are working.

Once you get your test results, you and your doctor can decide what to do next.

Who should get a bone density scan?

A bone-density test Most men under 70 and women under age 65 probably don’t need the test because:

Most people do not have severe bone loss.

Most people don’t have any bone loss or have gentle bone loss (called osteopenia). Their risk of breaking a bone is low, so they do not need the test. They should exercise frequently and obtain lots of calcium and vitamin D. This is the most effective way to stop bone loss.

The bone-density scan has risks. A bone-density test provides out a small quantity of radiation. However, radiation exposure will add up. The effects can add up in your body over your life, so it is best to avoid it if you can. Younger women and men ages 50 to 69 should consider the test if they have risk factors for severe bone loss. Risk factors include:

  • Breaking a bone in a minor accident.
  • Having rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Having a parent who broke a hip.
  • Smoking.
  • Drinking heavily.
  • Having a low body weight.
  • Using corticosteroid drugs for three months or more.
  • Having a disorder associated with osteoporosis.

Also, if you do have bone loss, you may be offered drug treatments.

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