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A bone density scan checks the bone mineral density of bones and the probability of fracture. Mainly women are at risk, but men can be too. Bone density loss can lead to osteoporosis. When this happens, breaks can occur from a fall or even from something as simple as a cough or sneeze.
The test is simple. The patient lies on a table, fully clothed or in a gown. Unlike typical X-rays, your radiation exposure is very low. An examination is generally done of the hip and spine, and the test takes only minutes. The report is sent to your doctor.
Updated Bone Densitometry Unit
Patients are even more comfortable in Parkland Health Center's new, updated Hologic-Discovery bone densitometry equipment which was added in 2013.
A Bone Density Test Is Encouraged if You Are:
- A post-menopausal woman who is not taking estrogen
- Thin or small-framed
- A smoker
- An excessive consumer of alcohol
- Taking thyroid medication or steroid-based drugs
Who Should Have One
Your doctor can help determine if you should have a bone density scan. They are recommended if you are 65 or older regardless of risk.
If you're under 65, you should have a bone density scan if you have one or more of the following risk factors:
- Calcium-deficient diet
- History of amenorrhea, the abnormal absence of menstruation
- History of malabsorption
- Moderate to high alcohol intake
- Poor nutrition
- Prolonged treatment with steroids, certain anti-cancer drugs, thyroid hormone and some anti-seizure medications
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Significant caffeine consumption
- Small-boned frame
- Tobacco use