Bone Mineral Density (QCT)

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This provides a quantitative comment of the osteoporosity of bones. Simply said, this information is used to estimate the strength of your bones.

We all lose some bone mass as we age. Bones naturally become thinner as you grow older because existing bone is broken down faster than new bone is made. As this occurs, our bones lose calcium and other minerals and become lighter, less dense, and more porous. This makes the bones weaker and increases the likelihood of fracture. Measurements are most commonly made over the upper part of the hip and over the lumbar spine and a complex computerized algorithm applied to determine the T-score. The T-score is used to calculate the degree of osteoporosity of the bones and WHO criteria is applied such that T-score greater than -1.0 is considered normal; a T-score between -2.5 and -1.0 is suggestive of osteopenia and a score lower than-2.5 is indicative of osteoporosis.

Other risk factors taken into account in the diagnosis of osteoporosis or other low bone mass conditions are early menopause, long-term steroid use, family history, low body weight, current cigarette smoking etc.

There are two types of bone density scans:

  • Central DXA

This scan involves lying on a table while an X-ray machine scans your hip, spine, and other bones of your torso.

  • Peripheral DXA

This scan examines the bones of your forearm, wrist, fingers, or heel. This scan is normally used as a screening tool to learn if you need a central DXA. The test takes only a few minutes.

Process:  A bone mineral density test is painless and requires no medication. You simply lie on a bench or table while the test is performed.  The test may take place in your doctor’s office, if they have the right equipment. Otherwise, you may be sent to a specialized testing facility. Some pharmacies and health clinics also have portable scanning machines.

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