Women's Bone Health
The Women's Services department at Banner Baywood Medical Center offers bone densitometry testing to help women monitor their health. Bone density tests, called DEXA or dual-energy X-ray absorption, measure bone mass to determine whether you have osteopenia or osteoporosis and are at risk for a fracture.
What is "bone mineral density" (BMD)?
Bone mineral density (BMD) measures the absolute amount of bone and helps determine bone strength and its ability to bear weight. It is measured with a dual energy X-ray absorptiometry test (a DEXA scan). By measuring density, we can predict the risk of fracturing a bone just as we measure blood pressure to help predict the risk of stroke.
It is also important to note that a bone density scan, or test, should not be confused with a bone scan, which is a nuclear medicine test.
Who should get a bone density test?
Bone densitometry scans should be considered for patients who are under the age of 65 if they have the following risk factors:
- History of fracture as an adult
- History of fragility fracture in a close relative
- Low body weight (under 127 pounds)
- Use of corticosteroid therapy for more than three months
- Estrogen deficiency at an early age (45 years or younger).
Medicare will cover bone density testing every two years for patients who are 65 years or older and who have one of the following conditions:
- Estrogen deficient and at risk for osteoporosis
- Abnormalities in the vertabrae
- Long term use of glucocorticoid steroid therapy
- Diagnosis of Primary Hyperparathyroidism
- Use of an approved osteoporosis drug therapy.
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