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Bone Density Scan

What Is A Bone Density Scan?

Bone density scans are painless exams that help doctors determine if you have osteoporosis. While healthy bones are constantly removing weakened sections and replacing them with strong sections, bones affected by osteoporosis are weak and may break easily as a result of minor falls or even simple actions such as bumping into a chair. Bones affected by osteoporosis either make too little bone, lose too much bone, or both.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, nine million Americans have osteoporosis, and another 48 million have low bone mass, which means that they are at a greater risk for osteoporosis. As the body ages, bone mass reduces. While anyone can develop osteoporosis, women are more likely to develop it than men. A bone density test can determine bone strength and bone mass, providing an opportunity to treat osteoporosis and low bone mass before a serious injury or bone fracture.

A bone density test can be performed at your physician’s office and takes less than fifteen minutes. This study measures the amount of minerals packed into a segment of bone. The bones most commonly tested are the hip, spine, and forearm. If these scans show the possibility of low bone mass or the beginning stages of osteoporosis, your physician may wish for you to have a follow-up scan on the spine or hip to confirm the diagnosis.

More information about osteoporosis can be found at the website for the National Osteoporosis Foundation


  1. National Osteoporosis Foundation “basics”
  2. National Osteoporosis Foundation
  3. Mayo Clinic – Risks
  4. Mayo Clinic – Bone Density Test



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