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Bone Density Scans Questions and Answers

Come to Express Healthcare for your bone density scan to find out the strength and thickness of your bones. Our staff are dedicated to the betterment of our patients’ health. Call today for more information on how a bone density scan can benefit you or schedule an appointment online with one of our professionals. We serve patients from Berwyn Heights MD, College Park MD, Lanham Hyattsville MD, Lakeland MD, Hollywood MD, Old Town MD, Acredale MD, and Riverdale Gardens MD.

Bone Density Scans Questions and Answers
Bone Density Scans Questions and Answers

Bone density scans use diagnostic procedures such as an x-ray to determine the amount of minerals and nutrients in a segment or area of bone. Bones that are most commonly tested include the hip, spine and forearm. They can be used to determine low bone density, which can lead to fractures.

How accurate are bone density scans?

If you have your bone density test done at a hospital, it will most likely be performed on a central device, where you lie on a padded platform while a mechanical arm passes over your body. The amount of radiation exposure levels is very low, significantly lower than the amount emitted during a chest X-ray. The test typically takes about 10 minutes to half an hour.

Such as those in your finger, wrist or heel, a small, portable machine can measure bone density in the bones at the far ends of your skeleton. Peripheral devices are the instruments used for these tests and are often found in pharmacies. Tests done on central devices are more expensive than those tests of peripheral bone density. A measurement taken at your heel usually isn’t as accurate a predictor of fracture risk as a measurement taken at your spine or hip because bone density can vary from one location in your body to another. Consequently, your doctor might recommend a follow-up scan at your spine or hip to confirm your diagnosis if your test on a peripheral device is positive.

What can show up on a bone density test?

A bone-density test is a way to measure the strength of your bones and the test it uses is called a DEXA scan, a type of X-ray. Every year, many people get a bone-density test. The main reason to have the test is to prevent fractures and disability and to treat serious bone loss, called osteoporosis.
Most women under age 65 and men under 70 probably do not need the test because:

  • Most people do not have serious bone loss.
  •  Most people have no bone loss at all or may only have mild bone loss (called osteopenia).
  • They do not need the test because they have a low risk of breaking a bone.
  • The best way to prevent bone loss is by exercising regularly and getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D.

What is a normal bone density score?

A T-score of -1.0 or above is normal bone density, for example 0.9, 0 and -0.9.
A T-score between -1.0 and -2.5 means you have low bone density or osteopenia, eg. T-scores of -1.1, -1.6 and -2.4.
A T-score of -2.5 or below is a diagnosis of osteoporosis, eg. are T-scores of -2.6, -3.3 and -3.9.
The lower the T-score that a person has, the lower their bone density is.

What is the difference between a DEXA scan and a bone density test?

A bone density test is an evaluation by either ultrasounds or special x-rays to determine how much bone mineral content is present in any section of bone. The higher a person’s mineral content is, the denser their bones are. This is one of the ways to determine the risk of fracture.

A DEXA scan measures the spine and often one or both hips. The test emits minimal amounts of radiation, a small fraction of what one would receive from a chest x-ray. The test typically takes 5-10 minutes and is painless and even comfortable, unless the patient has difficulty lying down.

If you or someone you know needs a bone density scan, come to Express Healthcare today! Our kind and compassionate staff are here to help you determine the density of your bones and risk of fractures. Contact our office today to talk with a member of our specialist team. Go online or simply give us a call to book an appointment with us today!

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