A bone density test, otherwise known as a dexa scan or bone density scan, is a specialized x-ray that measures how much calcium and bone minerals exist in the bone segment(s) being tested. The most common areas tested during a bone density scan are the hip, spine, and forearm or wrist.
Why are bone density tests performed?
Bone density tests are most often done to diagnose osteoporosis, but some doctors recommend a baseline scan in people at risk for developing osteoporosis so future scans can help determine any bone degeneration. Bone density tests can identify loss of bone density, determine the risk of fractures, and monitor the effectiveness of osteoporosis treatment.
Who should have a bone density test?
People with an osteoporosis diagnosis and those at risk for osteoporosis should consider having a bone density test. Although osteoporosis is most common in postmenopausal women, men and younger women can develop it as well. There are conditions and medications that can lead to loss of bone, so people who have those conditions or have taken such medications may want to have a bone density test.
Sometimes doctors recommend bone density tests in people who have:
- Fractured their bones or have a close relative with a history of bone fractures
- Taken drugs, such as prednisone, that can interfere with bone rebuilding
- Received an organ transplant and taken anti-rejection medications
- Experienced drops in certain hormone levels, such as estrogen
- Lost at least 1.6 inches in height (a sign of spine compression fractures)
- History of smoking or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol or caffeine
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Entered menopause early
- Hyperthyroidism or hyperparathyroidism
Beaumont locations across the Detroit area that offer bone density testing
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At Beaumont, our orthopedic surgeons are breaking new ground and pioneering treatments that improve the lives of patients dealing with joint pain and other orthopedic condition. We have specialists in hand & wrist, hip & knee, spine, back, neck and more. Whether you’re seeking help with an existing condition, you would like a diagnosis, or you are looking for help with recovery and rehabilitation, Beaumont joint pain doctors can help. Beaumont has orthopedic specialists who offer the treatments and services you need.
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