Bone Density Screens

A bone density screen determines if a patient has osteoporosis—a disease that can impact both men and women by causing bones to become more fragile and more likely to break.

A bone density screen uses X-rays to measure how much calcium and other bone minerals are packed into a section of bone. The bones that are most commonly tested are located in the spine, hip and forearm. The higher the bone mineral content, the denser the bones are. The denser the bones, the stronger they generally are and the less likely they are to break.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends a bone density test for individuals who are over age 50 with a history of a broken bone. Men older than 70 and women who are age 65 or over, postmenopausal or recently stopped hormone therapy should also be tested. 

A bone density screen can:

  • Pinpoint a decrease in bone density before a bone is broken
  • Determine a patient’s risk for broken bones
  • Confirm an osteoporosis diagnosis, if the patient has broken bones

Regular exercise, such as walking, playing tennis, weight lifting, yoga or using a rowing machine can reduce the likelihood of bone fractures in people with osteoporosis.