- Osteoporosis Slideshow Pictures
- Super Foods for Your Bones Slideshow Pictures
- Take the Osteoporosis Quiz
- Patient Comments: Bone Density Scan - Experience
- Find a local Rheumatologist in your town
- Bone density scan facts
- What is osteoporosis?
- How does osteoporosis occur?
- What is bone mineral density (BMD)?
- What information is on a DXA report?
- Why is BMD measurement important?
- What is the relationship between BMD and fracture risk?
- Who should have BMD testing?
- How is BMD measured?
- What are other methods of measuring BMD?
- How often should DXA scans be repeated to monitor treatment?
- What is the cost of DXA?
- What about the accuracy of BMD testing in the doctor's office using smaller equipment?
Quick GuideWhat Is Osteoporosis? Treatment, Symptoms, Medication
What is the relationship between BMD and fracture risk?
In patients with low bone mass at the hip or the spine (the two areas traditionally measured with DXA [formerly referred to as DEXA] scanning), there is a two- to threefold increase in the incidence of any osteoporotic fracture. In other words, low bone density at the measured areas of the spine and hip can even predict future osteoporotic fractures at other parts of the body besides the spine and hip. In subjects with a BMD in the osteoporosis range, there is approximately a five times increase in the occurrence of osteoporotic fractures.
Who should have BMD testing?
BMD testing is recommended for all women over the age of 65. Additionally, postmenopausal women under 65 years who have risk factors for osteoporosis other than menopause (these include a previous history of fractures, low body weight, cigarette smoking, and a family history of fractures) should be tested. Finally, men or women with strong risk factors as listed below should discuss the benefit of DXA scanning with their doctor to see if testing is indicated.
The following are potential risk factors for osteoporosis that might suggest the need for DXA scanning:
- Personal history of fracture as an adult
- History of fracture in first-degree relative
- Low body weight or thin body stature
- Advanced age
- Current cigarette smoking
- Use of corticosteroid therapy for more than three months
- Impaired vision
- Estrogen deficiency at early age
- Poor health/frailty
- Recent falls
- Lifelong low calcium intake
- Low physical activity
- Alcohol intake of more than two drinks/day
- Thyroid disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Excessive caffeine consumption
- Use of oral contraceptive (birth control pills)