TTUHSC School of Medicine at Amarillo
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Osteoporosis Center

Patient Education & Information

Who should have a bone density scan(DXA)?

  • Women aged 65 and older.
  • Postmenopausal women under age 65 with risk factors.
  • Men aged 70 and older.
  • Adults with a fragility fracture.
  • Adults with a disease or condition associated with low bone mass or bone loss.
  • Adults taking medications associated with low bone mass or bone loss.
  • Anyone being considered for pharmacologic therapy.
  • Anyone being treated, to monitor treatment effect.
  • Anyone not receiving therapy in whom evidence of bone loss would lead to treatment.

Women discontinuing estrogen should be considered for bone density testing according to the indications listed above.

Preparing for your bone density scan

Wear comfortable clothing.

Do not take any calcium supplement, including MVI with calcium for the 3 days prior to the bone density scan.

What is a T-score?

A T-score is a number that represents how different your bone mineral density is from a group of healthy 25 year olds. This age group is chosen to compare your current bone mass to that of women who are at their "peak" bone mass. For instance, if your T-score is -1 that means your bone mineral density is 1 standard deviation below that for a healthy 25 year old.

The diagnosis of osteopenia or osteoporosis is based on the T-score.

What is a Z-score?

A Z-score reflects how different your bone mineral density is from a group of individuals who are in your age group. A Z-score is not used in adults for the diagnosis of osteopenia or osteoporosis.

How will my results be reported?

The referring physician will be sent a copy of the DXA report and a letter describing the interpretation by one of our ISCD certified clinical bone densitometry physicians. Our physicians interpret your bone density test based on the T-score and your individual risk factors. The physician will review your medical history and current medications and make suggestions for treatment options to your primary physician.

Sample Bone Densitometry Letter