Bone mineral density (BMD) testing can be used to:
- Diagnose osteoporosis
- Detect low bone mass before osteoporosis develops
- Help predict the risk of future fractures
BMD testing is completed using a quick, painless, noninvasive technology called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). This technique uses low levels of x-ray and involves passing a scanner over the body while the patient lies on a cushioned table.
The diagnosis of osteoporosis using DXA measurements is currently based on a number called a T-score, which represents the extent to which a patient’s bone density differs from the average bone density of a young, healthy person and the average bone density of those the same age, sex and race.