Doctors perform bone density tests to determine the strength of a person’s bones. These tests can reveal if a person is at risk of developing osteoporosis or has low bone density. There are many ways to check a person’s bone density.
These bone density tests can be used to test different types of bone. These tests measure the amount of bone material in particular areas of bone, such as the hips, and spine. The higher the bone density, the more bone material one has.
Learn more about the various bone density tests, their working principles, and when doctors might use them.
An adult person has 206 bones. Bones are vital for movement, protecting vital organs, and storing nutrients. Dense bones are necessary for these tasks.
About 10% of a person’s bone volume is composed of bone cells. Bone cells are responsible for the production and shaping of extracellular matrix as well as regulating the flow of minerals within and outside the bone.
Low bone density may be caused by illnesses, medications, or growing older. Low bone density can lead to lower bone strength and other conditions, such as Osteoporosis.
Many bone density tests can be used in clinical practice. Here are the most common:
Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry: The most popular Trusted Source tests. DXA tests are used by doctors to determine bone density in central bones like the spine and hips.
This test is another type of DXA, A PDXA (peripheral DXA) test measures the bone density of distal bones like the tibia (shinbone) and radius (bone in the forearm).
The quantitative CT (QCT), this test measures bone density in central bones by using a CT scanner.
Peripheral QCT: This test measures distal bone density using a CT scanner.
Quantitative ultrasonography (QUS) This type can be used to determine the bone density of certain distal bone types, like the tibia, radius, and calcareous. Images are not created by using radiation.
All bone density tests work in the same way. DXA, QCT, and QUS tests use X-rays, respectively, to determine bone density.
A machine that emits and detects X-rays will be used by a doctor during a DXA (or QCT) scan. Depending on their mineral density, the number of X-rays that a person absorbs will vary.
Doctors can calculate how much X-ray radiation a person’s bones absorbed by comparing their X-ray radiation to the machines.
This number can then be used by the doctor to calculate a person’s bone mass.
QUS scans function similarly. Instead of emitting and detecting X-rays, QUS scans use ultrasonic.
Ultrasound scans make use of high-frequency sound waves. These sound waves echo when they touch the bones, creating a picture inside the body.
Ultrasound is not a type of radiation, unlike X-rays.
The most common uses of bone density tests include the detection of bone fractures and osteoporosis.
People with osteoporosis are particularly at risk of breaking their bones if they don’t get treatment.
Doctors recommend that older adults undergo regular bone density tests, as osteoporosis is more common later in life.
For overall health, having a good bone density can be very important. Low bone density is a sign that someone may have osteoporosis.
Scientists have come up with several bone density testing techniques. These tests can be used by doctors to detect bone loss before it becomes serious or osteoporosis early on so that treatment can be started.
A person’s bone density can be measured by X-rays or CT scans. DXA scans are the most popular among doctors.
Each bone density test has its benefits and drawbacks. For example, X-rays and CT scans use radiation. However, ultrasound scans can be less accurate.
As we age, our bones may require more frequent tests to determine bone density.
Lifeline Medical Associates can help you determine your bone density. Our specialists can review your medical history and run several tests to assess your bone health. Our experts can recommend the best way for you to determine your bone density.