A bone density test determines if you have osteoporosis — a disease that causes bones to become more fragile and

more likely to break. In the past, osteoporosis could be detected only after you broke a bone. By that time, however, your bones could be quite weak. A bone density test makes it possible to know your risk of breaking bones before the fact. A bone density test uses X-rays to measure how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals are packed into a segment of bone. The bones that are most commonly tested are located in the spine, hip and forearm. How is the test done? Bone density testing can be done several different ways. The most common and accurate way uses a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan. It uses low-dose x-rays. (You receive more radiation with a chest x-ray.) There are two different types of DEXA scans:

Central DEXA. You lay on a soft table, and the scanner passes over your lower spine and hip. Usually, you do not need to undress. This scan is the best test to predict your risk of fractures. Peripheral DEXA (p-DEXA). These smaller machines measure the bone density in your wrist, fingers, leg, or heel. These machines are in doctor's offices, pharmacies, shopping centers, an

On the day of the exam the patient may eat normally. Inform the patient not to take calcium supplements for at least 24 hours before your exam. Tell te patient to wear loose, comfortable clothing, avoiding garments that have zippers, belts or buttons made of metal on the day of the exam. Ask the patient if he/she recently had a barium examination or have been injected with a contrast material for computed tomography (CT) scan or radioisotope (Nuclear Medicine) scan 10 to 14 days before undergoing the DXA test. Ask the patient if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. Many imaging test are not performed during pregnancy so as not to expose the fetus to radiation. Ursing care No specific nursing care needed.

Normal vs Abnormal Results The results of your test are usually reported as a T-score and Z-score. Z-score compares your bone density with that of other people of your age.5 indicates the beginning of bone loss (osteopenia). a negative number means you have thinner bones than the standard. it helps predict your risk of having a bone fracture in the future. You can also find information about FRAX online.   T-score between -1 and -2. the higher your risk of a bone fracture. . gender. Your health care provider can tell you more about this. and race.5 indicates osteoporosis. Along with other risk factors you may have. Treatment recommendation depends on your total fracture risk. Bone mineral density testing does not diagnose fractures. A T-score is within the normal range if it is -1. With either score.0 or above.   T-score compares your bone density with that of healthy young women. This risk can be calculated using the FRAX score. Your doctor will help you understand the results. T-score below -2. The more negative the number.