Bone Densitometry

Bone density testing screens men and women for their risk for osteoporosis, a disease characterized by low bone density. Everyone loses bone mass as they age, but for older women especially, accelerated bone loss is associated with a higher probability of fractures of the back and hip due to falls. In fact, these fall-related fractures are a significant public health problem and can limit a woman’s ability to resume normal activities and live independently.

The most common test to measure bone density is the DEXA: Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry. DEXA uses small doses of ionizing radiation to measure bone density, usually in the hip, spine or wrist. It’s a non-invasive test that compares your bone density to an average index based on age, sex and size. The results of DEXA help diagnose osteoporosis and your risk for developing fractures.

The American College of Radiology and Radiology Associates of Richmond recommends that all asymptomatic women 65 years and older, and men 70 years and older, undergo bone density screening. If you are younger, but have risk factors for osteoporosis, ask your doctor when you should begin screening.