Bone Mineral Densitometry
Bone Mineral Densitometry (BMD) is a non-invasive diagnostic test that measures the density of minerals, such as calcium, in bones. It is primarily used to diagnose osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become weak and brittle and are more likely to fracture.
The most common BMD test is called dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA or DEXA). This test uses low-dose X-rays to measure the density of bones in the hip, spine, and sometimes the wrist. It is a quick and painless test that typically takes about 10-20 minutes to complete.
During a DXA scan, the patient lies on a table while a machine scans the body. The radiation exposure during the test is very low, and the risk of harm is minimal. The results of the test are reported as a T-score, which compares the patient’s bone density to that of a healthy young adult of the same sex. A T-score of -1.0 or higher is considered normal, while a T-score between -1.0 and -2.5 indicates osteopenia, a condition in which bone density is lower than normal but not yet considered osteoporosis. A T-score of -2.5 or lower indicates osteoporosis.
BMD testing is recommended for women over 65 years old and men over 70 years old, as well as for postmenopausal women under 65 who have risk factors for osteoporosis, such as a family history of the disease or a history of smoking or heavy alcohol use. BMD testing may also be recommended for younger women and men with certain medical conditions that can affect bone density, such as hyperparathyroidism or chronic kidney disease.
Overall, BMD testing is a valuable tool for diagnosing and monitoring osteoporosis and other conditions that affect bone health. It can help identify patients who may benefit from lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, or medications to improve bone density and reduce the risk of fractures.