Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What is Bone Density and who should have it?

Bone Density Testing

This information is taken directly from two Doctors about this situation.  Thank you for the wonderful information!  No one could say it better so I didn't even try.

According to Melissa Stoppler, MD: (taken directly from:
In premenopausal women, estrogen produced in the body maintains bone density. Following the onset of menopause, bone loss increases each year and can result in a total loss of 25%-30% of bone density in the first five to ten years after menopause. Your doctor can help you decide when and if you need a bone density test. In general, this testing is recommended for women 65 and older along with younger postmenopausal women who have further risk factors for osteoporosis, including:A history of bone fractures as an adult or having a close relative with a history of bone fractures
  • Weight loss or low body weight; small-boned body frame
  • Early menopause or late onset of menstrual periods
  • Physical inactivity
  • Low estrogen levels

This information is taken directly from Dr. Sutton and his website

How To Prepare
Bone density tests are easy, fast and painless. Virtually no preparation is needed.

What To Expect
Bone density tests are usually done on bones that are most likely to break because of osteoporosis, including:

Lower spine bones (lumbar vertebrae)
The narrow neck of your thigh bone (femur) where it adjoins your hip
Bones in your wrist and forearm

Bone density can be measured using either a central device or a peripheral device.

Central device. A central device is a large machine on which you lie down during bone density testing. The equipment measures your bone density at your hip or spine through a test called a dual energy X-ray absorptiometry scan, or DXA scan. A DXA scan offers very precise results and is the preferred test for diagnosing osteoporosis.
During the test, you lie on a padded platform for a few minutes while an imager — a mechanical arm-like device — passes over your body. It won't touch you. The test does, however, emit radiation, though your exposure during a bone density test is commonly about one-tenth of the amount emitted during a chest X-ray. The test usually takes five to 10 minutes to complete.
Peripheral device. A peripheral device is a small, portable machine that measures bone density on the periphery of your skeleton, such as in your finger, wrist or heel. Peripheral devices are often found in pharmacies and are considerably less expensive than are tests done on central devices.
Because bone density can vary from one location in your body to another, a measurement taken at your heel usually isn't as accurate a predictor of fracture risk as is a measurement taken at your spine or hip. That's why, if your test on a peripheral device is positive, your doctor might recommend a DXA scan at your spine or hip to confirm your diagnosis.

The results from a bone density test can let you know how your fracture risk compares with that of other people of your age, sex and other similar characteristics.

Your bone density test results are reported in two numbers: T-score and Z-score.

T-score: Bone density score
Your T-score is your bone density compared with what is normally expected in a healthy young adult of your sex. Your T-score is the number of units — standard deviations (SD) — that your bone density is above or below the average.
T-score What your score means
Above -1 Your bone density is considered normal.
Between -1 and -2.5 Your score is a sign of osteopenia, a condition in which bone density is below normal and may lead to osteoporosis.
Below -2.5 Your bone density indicates you have osteoporosis.

Keep in mind that these scores apply mostly to white postmenopausal women, who tend to have lower bone density as compared with other racial groups and men. Interpretations may vary if you're a woman of color or a man.

Your Z-score is the number of standard deviations above or below what's normally expected for someone of your age, sex, weight, and ethnic or racial origin. This is helpful because it may suggest you have a secondary form of osteoporosis through which something other than aging is causing abnormal bone loss.

A Z-score less than -1.5 might indicate these other factors are to blame. Your doctor would then try to determine if there's any underlying cause for the low bone mass other than aging or menopause, which are expected causes of bone loss. If your doctor can identify a cause, that condition can often be treated and the bone loss slowed or stopped.

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If you have ever had a bone density test please share your experience.