How Do You Test For Osteoporosis?

how do you test for osteoporosis
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Osteoporosis is a serious medical condition, particularly for those over the age of 50. It is a bone disorder that causes bones to become weak and brittle, leading to an increased risk of fracture. It is estimated that over 50 million people worldwide suffer from osteoporosis, and it is especially common in women. Fortunately, there are several tests available to diagnose the condition.

In this article, we will look at what tests are available to diagnose osteoporosis, how they work, and the implications of the results.

What Tests Are Available?

The most common tests for osteoporosis are bone mineral density (BMD) tests. These tests use low-energy x-rays to measure the density of the bones. The higher the bone density, the stronger the bones are. A low BMD reading suggests that the bones are weak and brittle.

Another test that may be used is a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan. This scan uses higher-energy x-rays to measure the density of the bones. It is more precise than a BMD test and is the preferred method of diagnosis for osteoporosis.

Another test that may be used is a quantitative computed tomography (QCT) scan. This scan uses X-rays to measure the density of the bones in three-dimensional detail. It is more precise than a DXA scan and can detect even small changes in bone density.

How Do the Tests Work?

Bone mineral density tests, DXA scans, and QCT scans all work in a similar way. During the test, the patient lies on a table and a special X-ray machine is used to take pictures of the bones. The density of the bones is then measured and compared to the average density for people of the same age and sex. A low bone density reading suggests that the patient may have osteoporosis.

What Are the Implications of a Low BMD Reading?

A low BMD reading indicates that the patient is at increased risk of bone fracture. In cases of severe osteoporosis, a fracture can occur with little or no trauma. In some cases, the fracture can even occur in the absence of any trauma. In these cases, the fracture is known as a fragility fracture.

If a patient is found to have osteoporosis, they will be recommended a course of treatment. This may include lifestyle changes such as increasing physical activity, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol intake. The patient may also be prescribed medication to help strengthen the bones.


Osteoporosis is a serious medical condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Fortunately, there are a number of tests available to diagnose the condition, including BMD tests, DXA scans, and QCT scans. The results of these tests can help to identify those at risk of fracture and enable them to take steps to reduce their risk.

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