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Bone density test results

Bone density test results are a numeric score that compares your fracture risk with that of other people of your age and sex. There are different types of bone mineral density (BMD)  testing equipment.   Bone density test results can not be readily compared from one type of test equipment to another.  Many health professionals recommend a central dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) machine to diagnose hip and spine bone loss, especially in patients with osteoporosis.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation and other health organizations, doctors typically bone-density-test-results | Articlemeasure BMD in the hip and spine for multiple reasons.  First,  those who suffer from osteoporosis are more likely to fracture these bones. Second, these fractures may lead to a prolonged recovery time,  pain and disability.  BMD test results in the hip and spine may also be a good predictor of future fractures in other bones.

Other BMD equipment provides bone density test results that may lack the diagnostic benefits of DXA machines.  These include QUS, which uses ultrasound waves and other radiation emitting equipment such as pDXA QCT and pQCT.  Finally, there are BMD machines that serve as screening tools for bone loss. One popular ultrasound scanner measures heel bone density as a surrogate for the hip bone. This scan is not reliable enough to compare the benefit over time of a medication, exercise program or effective calcium supplement such as AdvaCAL.

The key bone density results are your T-score and Z-score. According to the Mayo Clinic.com:

“Your T-score is your bone density compared with what is normally expected in a healthy oung 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.”

bone-density-test-results | ArticleAs women near menopause, many doctors will monitor bone density test results every two years. You may be tested more often.  Don’t try to interpret your BMD scores alone. Your doctor  is familiar with the peculiarities of BMD equipment, including his or her own machine. Your doctor can best determine the progress of your bone density test results.