A bone density scan or Duax X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is a diagnostic test that measures bone mineral density by measuring how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals are packed into a segment of bone. The test produces two X-ray beams, and the amount of X-ray that passes through the bone is measured. The test will help your physician detect osteoporosis and risk of bone fractures.
All women and men over the age of 65 should get a bone density test, but there are several other groups that are recommended to get the examination as well, including:
- Men ages 50-69 with risk factors for osteoporosis
- Women whose decision to use medication might be aided by bone density testing.
- Postmenopausal women with fractures; this is not mandatory because treatment may be started regardless of bone density.
- All postmenopausal women under age 65 who have risk factors for osteoporosis.
These recommendations are from the National Osteoporosis Foundation guidelines.
Why Bone Density Tests
In the past, there was no way to determine if you had osteoporosis until a fractured occurred, now with a bone density test, physicians are able to check your bone density levels and determine if you have high, low or osteoporosis density levels. A bone density test is the only test that can diagnose osteoporosis and if the test is done at the correct time, your physician can take the proper preventive measures to help you avoid osteoporosis and the weakening of your bones.
How To Get A Bone Density Test?
Most people will need a referral from their physician to get a bone density test. If you fall within one of the groups of people that are at risk of developing osteoporosis, and you would like to get a bone density scanning, contact an IBJI physician nearest you and make an appointment. If you have already been diagnosed with osteoporosis and are taking medication, your physician will likely recommend you take a bone density test every one to two years.
What Should I Do Now?
Bone Density scans are the only way to diagnose osteoporosis and due to the nature of the disease it’s best you take preventive measures against osteoporosis by working with your physician to monitor your bone density levels. It’s an easy way to avoid what can be a painful and unnecessary disease. Contact an IBJI physician to make an appointment for your bone density scan today.