Bone Mineral Density Test
A bone mineral density (BMD) test determines bone density levels at the hand, heel, hip, spine or wrist. All women 65 and older should have a BMD test. Women who are younger than 65 and past menopause should have a BMD test if they have other risk factors for osteoporosis, outlined above.
There are many different ways to measure bone density, including a DEXA scan and a FRAX test.
A DEXA scan requires you to lay down for 3-10 minutes while a machine scans your body. After your test, you’re assigned a T-score, which determines your bone density in relation to an average 30 year old woman. A negative score means you have thinner bones, and a positive score means you have stronger bones than an average 30 year old woman.
If your T-score, at any site, is between -1 and -2.5, you are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. A score of -2.5 or lower means you have osteoporosis.
FRAX determines your fracture risk by accounting for age, sex, body mass index (BMI), smoking, alcohol intake and other risk factors. The program predicts the risk of having a fracture in the next 10 years for women 40 and older (who are currently taking osteoporosis drugs).