What is the test?
This test, which is also called bone densitometry, uses specialized x-rays to measure the thickness and strength of your bones. Various scanners use different techniques, such as dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and radiographic absorptiometry. Quantitative ultrasound, which does not involve x-rays, may also be used.
When bones are somewhat thin, the condition is called osteopenia; when bones become very thin, the condition is called osteoporosis. Bone density tests provide a precise measure of whether you have osteopenia or osteoporosis. Men, and particularly women, usually begin to lose bone thickness around age 50. Exercise and various treatments can help prevent and even restore bone loss; that's why diagnosing thin bones is important. Many authorities now recommend screening for thin bones. Not only is this test used to help detect osteoporosis, but it is also helpful in monitoring your progress if you're taking bone-building medications.
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