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Bone Density


Are you a postmenopausal woman or a man age 50 or older? Have you recently broken a bone? If you answered “yes” to both questions, you should talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider about getting a bone density test if you’ve never had one.

A Bone Density test is a test to determine whether you have osteoporosis or you are at risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become more fragile and more likely to break. A bone density test can confirm that you have a low bone density, but it can’t tell you why. To answer that question, you need a complete medical evaluation, including history and physical. This information can help your doctor better interpret the results of your test.

A Bone Density test uses x-rays to measure how much calcium and other bone minerals are packed into a segment of bone. The higher your bone content, the denser your bones are. And the denser your bones, the stronger they generally are and the less likely to break. A bone density test is a safe and painless test. During the test, you will be asked to lie on your back and be very still for 20 minutes. A small scanning arm will run over your body during the scan. After the test, the machine will print out a report that your doctor will review.


The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends Bone Density testing if:

  • You are a women age 65 or older
  • You are a post-menopausal woman under age 65 with one or more risk factors for osteoporosis
  • You are a man aged 70 or older
  • You are a man between age 50 and 69 with one or more risk factors for osteoporosis
  • You break a bone after the age of 50
  • You are a woman of menopausal age with risk factors

A bone density test may also be necessary if you have any of the following:

  • an X-ray of your spine showing a break or bone loss in your spine
  • back pain with possible fracture in your spine
  • height loss of ½ inch or more within one year
  • total height loss of 1 ½ inches from your original height

Osteoporosis Risk Factors:

  • Getting older, which increases your risk of osteoporosis because bones become weaker as you age.
  • Low body weight or under 125lbs. if you are of average height
  • a personal history of fractures after age 40
  • a parental history of osteoporosis or hip fractures
  • using certain medications that can cause bone loss, especially steroids

Make sure you wear a 2 piece outfit with no metal/zippers in your pants.

There is not any preparation for this test. Be sure and let the technician know if you have had a hip replacement or if you have metal rods in your back. The test can still be done; it will just be done with a different technique.


Above -1your bone density is considered normal.
Between -1 and -2.5your score is a sign of osteopenia, a condition in which bone density is below normal and may lead to osteoporosis.
Below -2.5your bone density indicates you have osteoporosis.


Your doctor will receive a report of your bone density test and review the results with you and determine if any treatment is needed and how often you need to have a bone density test.

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Cullman Internal Medicine
1890 Alabama Highway 157, Suite 300
Cullman, AL 35058
Phone: 256-737-8000
Fax: 256-737-8058
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