Osteoporosis: Screening for Bone Loss - OsteoporosisWisconsin River Orthopaedic Institute - Health Library
Decrease font size Default font size Increase font size

Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

Osteoporosis: Screening for Bone LossOsteoporosis: Ex¡menes para detectar si hay p©rdida de hueso

Osteoporosis: Screening for Bone Loss

The strength of bones is measured by their density (thickness). High bone density means bones are less likely to fracture. If you are at risk for bone loss, your healthcare provider may refer you for bone density testing.

Bone Density Testing

Image

Bone density testing is safe, quick, easy, and painless. Testing can detect osteoporosis before a fracture happens. It can also predict the risk of future fractures. And testing can measure the response to treatment. There are two types of tests that you may have:

  • Peripheral tests are used for screening. They measure density in the finger, wrist, knee, shin, or heel. A common peripheral test is the quantitative ultrasound (QUS).

  • Central tests are used for diagnosis. They measure density in the hip or spine. The main central test is the dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). The DXA is the standard bone density test.

Who Should Be Tested?

  • All postmenopausal women under age 65, with one or more risk factors in addition to menopause.

  • All women age 65 and older.

  • Postmenopausal women with fractures.

  • Women who are thinking about treatment for osteoporosis.

  • Women who have been on hormone therapy for a long time.

  • Men or women with certain medical conditions or who are taking certain medications (such as glucocorticoids or prednisone) for a long period.

Common Testing Sites

Any bone can fracture, but with osteoporosis some bones fracture more easily. These include bones in the spine, wrist, shoulder, and hip. That's why bone density testing may be done at one or more of these sites.

Understanding Your Results

The results of your test may seem confusing at first. Don't be afraid to ask your provider to explain. Your bone mineral density (BMD) describes the thickness of the bone that was scanned. Your healthcare provider will compare your BMD with the BMD of young, healthy bone. The result is called a T-score. Bones remodel at different rates. So, a healthy T-score in the wrist doesn't mean the spine is also healthy. That's why more than one site may be scanned.

Publication Source: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Online Source: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Date Last Reviewed: 2005-10-20T00:00:00-06:00

Date Last Modified: 2009-12-08T00:00:00-07:00

Contact Wisconsin River Orthopaedic Institute at 715.424.1881 for your orthopaedic needs. For your convenience, you can fill out our online Request an Appointment form to book your consultation.

Testimonials

"I am very impressed with the quality of treatment by the Doctors and all of the staff…excellent is the only word to describe my experience. - D.P."
Read more

In the News

For your orthopedic needs, contact Wisconsin River Orthopaedic Institute at 715.424.1881 . For your convenience, you can fill out our online Request an Appointment form to book your consultation. We...
Read more