Bone Density

Bone densitometry, also known as bone mineral density testing, quickly and accurately measures the amount of calcium in certain parts of your bones. From this information, your doctor can determine how strong your bones are. The test is used to detect osteoporosis or osteopenia, diseases in which the bone's mineral content and density are low, increasing a person's risk of fractures.

There is a direct relationship between the lack of estrogen after menopause and the contribution to osteoporosis. Because symptoms of osteoporosis may not develop until bone loss is extensive, it is important for women at risk for osteoporosis to undergo regular bone testing.

Before having the test, be sure to notify your doctor if there is a possibility that you may be pregnant. You do not have to change your daily routine before this test. Eat, drink, and take your medicines as you normally would. However, do not take calcium supplements (such as Tums) for 24 hours before the test.

For the test, you may be asked to wear a hospital gown. You will then lie on your back, on a padded table, in a comfortable position. The lumbar spine (lower back) and the hip are the skeletal sites usually examined by bone densitometry. After the test is performed, your doctor will discuss the test results with you. Generally, you can resume your usual activities immediately.