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Bone Density

Osteoporosis is a thinning of the bones which causes the bones to become fragile and more likely to break. However, osteoporosis is preventable and, if diagnosed early, there are treatments available to slow the progression of bone loss.

What You Need To Know

A bone density test measures your bone mineral density at your hip and spine which shows your doctor if you have osteoporosis or a less severe, but still problematic level of bone loss, called osteopenia. There are two ways to measure bone mineral density: DXA and QCT.

Risk factors for osteoporosis:

  • Female
  • Age 65 or older
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Estrogen deficiency (which can be caused by menopause)
  • Little or no exercise
  • Past or current tobacco and/or excessive alcohol use
  • Use of certain medications such as corticosteroids 
  • Low body weight or a small frame
  • History of broken bones

A bone density test should be considered:

  • If you’re postmenopausal and at risk of osteoporosis
  • To assess your response to osteoporosis medications
  • If you have a condition called “primary hyperparathyroidism”
  • If you have certain spinal abnormalities that might indicate a fracture
  • If you’re on long-term corticosteroid therapy, such as Prednisone