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Bone Mineral Density Testing

Most people reach peak bone density between the ages of 20-35, and by the time you're 40, you start to lose bone mass. Loss of bone density can lead to a number of health issues like osteoarthritis, which has a 30-50% chance of affecting you after the age of 65. Associated Orthopedists of Detroit PC in St. Clair Shores and Shelby Township, Michigan, provide testing, diagnostics, and treatments to help you retain optimal bone health as you age. To learn more, call or use the online scheduling tool to make an appointment today.

Bone Mineral Density Testing Q & A

What is a bone mineral density test?

A bone mineral density test, also known as a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), assesses the amount of minerals, specifically calcium, present in your bones. Higher mineral content in your bones indicates you have dense, strong bones that are less likely to break.

Who needs bone mineral density testing?

A bone mineral density test is used to detect bone diseases like osteoporosis before you actually break a bone or show other symptoms that suggest an advanced condition. Your Associated Orthopedists of Detroit PC provider may also suggest it as a preventive measure if you're at an increased risk of developing bone disease, if you're over the age of 65, and especially if you're a woman with a history of bone fractures. You're also at a greater risk of developing bone disease if you have:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • An eating disorder
  • Early menopause
  • Family history of bone disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Significant height loss
Patients who don't exercise regularly, smoke, and drink too much also have a higher chance of developing bone disease as they age.

What happens during a bone mineral density exam?

Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may recommend a peripheral or central DXA. Both tests take a few minutes to complete, and you only need to lie down as your examiner performs the X-ray.

Peripheral DXA

A peripheral DXA checks the bones in your forearm, wrist, fingers, or heel and is a screening test to check if you need a more comprehensive, central DXA.

Central DXA

A central DXA scans your hips, spine, and other bones in your torso to check for signs of bone disease. After testing, your Associated Orthopedists of Detroit PC provider reviews the results with you and discusses treatment options if your test scores are too low. A T-score between 1 and -1 is considered normal. If you score between -1 and -2.5, your bone density is below average, and you may have osteoporosis. A score of -2.5 and lower indicates your bone density is low, and it's likely you've already developed osteoporosis. The test result also has a Z-score, which compares your result with the average result for patients of your sex, weight, and ethnicity. An unusually high or low score may suggest a factor other than age is causing your bone loss, and your doctor at Associated Orthopedists of Detroit PC may suggest further testing. If you're over 40, bone mineral density testing is a preventive measure to ensure the long-term health of your bones. Call the office or use the online scheduling tool to book an appointment for bone mineral density testing at Associated Orthopedists of Detroit PC today.