Bone Density Screening
Bone strength is measured by density, or the thickness of the bone. Women with higher bone density are less susceptible to fractures and breaks. Unfortunately, many postmenopausal women fail to have their bone density measured.
How is a bone density test done?
Bone density testing is safe, quick, easy, and painless. If you’re over the age of 65, then Medicare will cover the cost of the test once every two years. There are two types of tests that you may receive at St. Joseph Medical Center:
- Peripheral tests are used for screening. This type of test, often administered via quantitative ultrasound (QUS), measures density in the finger, wrist, knee, shin, or heel.
- Central tests, on the other hand, are used for diagnosis, and measure density in the hip or spine. The main type of central test is a dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) test. This highly accurate test uses two x-ray beams at different energy levels to measure bone absorption of the beams.
Should I get a bone density test?
If you meet one of the following requirements and have not had a bone density test in the last two years, then you should schedule one in the next few weeks:
- You are a postmenopausal woman under the age of 65 with one or more risk factors in addition to menopause.
- You are 65 years of age or older.
- You are postmenopausal and have fractures.
- You are thinking about getting treatment for osteoporosis.
- You have been on hormone therapy for several years.
- You have bone-related medical conditions or have been taking certain medications, such as glucocorticoids or prednisone, for a long period of time.
Understanding the Results of Your Test
When the results from your test come in, someone from our healthcare team will sit down with you to go over the new information. Each area of the body that was scanned will have at least two different pieces of data:
- Bone Mineral Density (BMD): Your BMD describes the thickness of the bone that was scanned.
- T-score: The difference between your BMD and the BMD of young, healthy bone is known as a T-score. A healthy T-score is -1.0 or higher, whereas a T-score of -2.5 or lower means you have osteoporosis (bone density 2.5 standard deviations below the mean of a thirty-year-old woman).
Have more questions? Ready to schedule an appointment for bone density screening? Call today to make an appointment – 713.757.7416.