Bone mineral density measurement test

There are several bone mineral density measurement tests.  Here is a list of the most commonly prescribed tests with brief explanation of what each measures:

  • DXA scan (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry scan) is a bone density scan that measures the bone of your spine, hip or your total body. If your health care provider orders a DEXA scan, you might want to ask which body parts your particular test will measure.
  • PDXA (Peripheral Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry). This test measures bone of your wrist, heel or finger.
  • SXA (Single Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) is a bone density measurement test that measures the density of bone in your wrist or the heel of one foot.
  • QUS (Quantitative Ultrasound) uses sound waves to measure bone density at the heel, shin bone and kneecap.
  • QCT (Quantitative Computed Tomography) is frequently used to measure the density of your spine, but it can also be used at other places. Again, if this test is ordered, do consider asking if it is being used for your spine or some other other body part.
  • PQCT (Peripheral Quantitative Computed Tomography) is another bone density measurement test that measure the bone density of your wrist.
  • RA (Radiographic Absorptiometry) uses an X-ray of the hand and a small metal wedge to calculate bone density
  • DPA (Dual Photon Absorptiometry), like the DXA listed above, this test measures the bone density of your spine, your hip or even your total body
  • SPA (Single Photon Absorptiometry) measures the bone density of the bones in your wrist

Which bone mineral density measurement test should you have?

Your health care provider is likely to choose which bone mineral density measurement test you should have.  There are many different tests. You can be prepared to discuss the choice if you do a bit of research before your visit.

 If you think it is time for your having a bone density measurement test, you might want to check which of these tests your health insurance will cover and/or the costs at your local testing site if you do not have health insurance that covers bone density measurement tests.

Also not all testing sites offer every one of the above listed bone density measurement tests. Sometimes the convenience of a testing location may be a factor you may want to raise with your health care provider before he or she writes a prescription for your test. Be prepared. If you 'do your homework' ahead of time, you are more likely to get the type of bone density measurement test you that will be covered by your insurance....or if you do not have health insurance, a test that you feel you can afford. If you come to your medical appointment prepared,  you should be able to get a prescription for the type of bone density test you prefer.       

 But you need to do a bit of research ahead of time. If you know potential costs and locations of bone mineral density test sites before you meet your health care provider, you are more likely get a prescription for the type of test you prefer.

Making your appointment for bone mineral density measurement test

When you call to schedule your appointment for your bone mineral density measurement test, be sure to ask if there are any special directions you should follow before the test as well as what time you should arrive for your scheduled appointment. Some offices have more...or less...paper work for you to complete before your test. And in a time of Covid, some offices do not want a very full waiting room so they may want to control your time of arrival.

The bone mineral density measurement test itself

Your bone mineral density measurement test . You will need to remove any braces, jewelry etc.  And if you have any metal in your body eg. cardiac stents, metal bone implants, bullet fragments or shrapnel  be sure to tell the person doing the test BEFORE the test begins. This is not forget!

The test itself is painless. It is not invasive and it does not take much time at all. 

Getting your bone mineral density measurement test results.

If this is a routine test and the test shows no problems, your heath care provider may call or email you about the test results. If your health care provider calls with your results and  like to keep paper copies of all your health care tests, you can ask if a copy could be sent to you....though many doctors now post test results to a medical portal and if that is the case you can view your test results and print out a copy for yourself if you feel you want a copy. 

If your bone density test show that you have Osteopenia or Osteoporosis , your heath care provider will probably want to meet with you to discuss your results and any treatment. Most doctors will want to prescribe a prescription drug so as to increase your bone density. (You can use this web site to read about the drug prescribed as well as other drugs used in the treatment of Osteopenia or Osteoporosis)  Be sure to check the potential side effects of each drug as well as effective dosages and any long term cautions for using the drug prescribed. 

Other ways to reverse bone loss & build  stronger bone. 

Pharmaceutical drugs are not the only way to reverse Osteopenia and Osteoporosis.  This web site provides information about a number of ways that scientific studies have shown to increase reverse Osteoporosis or Osteopenia by increasing bone density.

If you are interested in exploring these things, I suggest you begin by reading the page about what can cause Osteopenia or Osteoporosis.  There are many different causes....everything from certain medical conditions, specific prescription drugs and a host of dietary and life style habits. It really helps to know your individual causes of and figure out if you can eliminate some of these Causes of Osteopenia, Osteoporosis.

Then you will want to read about treatments. There are many natural treatments...everything from changes in diet, certain exercises, specific herbs etc. These can be found at Natural treatments for Osteopenia, Osteoporosis.

And if you want to read more about the pharmaceutical drug treatments for Osteopenia, Osteoporosis....including any drug your health care provider prescribed, do click on Drug treatments to reverse bone loss. 

Osteopenia and Osteoporosis can be reversed. You can build strong bones.

Yes, you can build strong any age.  Yes, many people have done it. I did it by first figuring out WHY I was losing bone. Not everyone does. I needed to find out the causes of my bone loss and stop doing the things that were my individual causes. That is why I think the CAUSES page is so important.

Of course there are pharmaceutical drugs  used as  Osteopenia, Osteoporosis treatment. But there are also a host of natural treatments....everything from specific exercises, dietary changes, herbs..... Lifestyle can contribute to bone loss. It can also reverse bone loss and aid in building strong bones. See: Natural treatments Osteopenia, Osteoporosis