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Bone Density

Bone Density Testing


Moreland OB-GYN offers bone density testing services to help detect if a woman has low bone density and a greater chance of developing osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones are thin, weak, and more likely to break.

What is a Bone Density Test?

Bone Density Scanning Performed at Moreland OB-GYN

A bone density test, also known as a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, DEXA, or DXA, is a scan that uses a small amount of x-ray to measure the amount of minerals and calcium in your bones. It’s a very quick and painless exam and is used to diagnose bone loss, osteopenia, and osteoporosis.  

The x-ray is usually taken from two sites, the lower spine and hip joint, and bones in your forearm. It’s measured with a T-score, which is the number that shows the amount of bone density you have compared to a young adult of the same gender with peak bone mass. The higher your T-score, the better. This means your bones are stronger, denser, and less prone to breakage. The lower a person’s T-score or bone mineral density, the greater the risk of having a fracture or developing osteoporosis. 

A Bone Mineral Density test is important because it is used to: 

  • Detect low bone density before a person breaks a bone 
  • Predict a person’s chances of breaking a bone in the future 
  • Confirm a diagnosis of osteoporosis when a person has already broken a bone 
  • Determine whether a person’s bone density is increasing, decreasing, or remaining stable 
  • Monitor a person’s response to treatment 

When is a Bone Density Test Recommended?

Bone density tests are generally for women 65 and older and are especially important if you have a family history of low bone density or factors that put you at high risk for bone loss. Although, regardless of your sex or age, your doctor may recommend a DXA if you’ve:

  • Recently entered menopause - During the first 4 to 8 years of menopause, women can lose bone more rapidly due to decreased levels of estrogen. 
  • Lost at least 1.5 inches in height - This may indicate compression fractures in the spine; which is most commonly caused by osteoporosis.
  • Fractured a bone - Risk of bone fractures increases as a person's bone density decreases. A sign of osteoporosis is easily fractured bones in the hips, wrists, or spine. 
  • Long-term use of medications - Steroid medications, such as Prednisone, can interfere with the bone-rebuilding process, which can later lead to osteoporosis. 
  • Live a sedentary lifestyle - Bone is living tissue that becomes stronger with regular exercise. Lack of physical activity can lead to lower bone density. 
  • Low body weight - Women who have low body weight, or suffer from anorexia or bulimia, are at a greater risk of low bone mass than women with healthy BMIs. 
  • Experienced a drop in hormone levels - The natural drop in estrogen levels during menopause increases risk of bone mass loss. Certain cancer treatments can also cause this drop in hormones putting these individuals at greater risk for bone loss.

Why Choose Moreland OB-GYN for Bone Density Testing Services?

Moreland Providers Explain Bone Density to PatientMoreland OB-GYN has a long-standing reputation for encouraging and promoting preventive health in Waukesha, Oconomowoc, Mukwonago, and surrounding communities. Our caring medical team, which includes physicians and advanced practice providers, have years of experience helping women fight against early signs of osteoporosis. 

Our team will make you feel comfortable and confident you are getting the most accurate DXA exam result. 

Our facility also offers an osteoporosis prevention exercise class, a unique exercise program designed around weight-bearing exercise and balance to keep women active and informed on the facts surrounding osteoporosis. 

Bone Density Testing Instructions

There is no preparation needed prior to a bone density test. During the exam, you will lie on your back while a portable x-ray machine passes over your body. The machine is not enclosed, and the exam will only take a few minutes. 

Testing instructions include: 

Clothing restrictions: Make sure you remove items that can block the x-ray beam, such as clothing with metallic zippers, snaps, buttons, or buckles. We can supply a gown if clothing interferes with the scan.

Radionuclides and radiopaque agents: If in the last 3 to 5 days you have had testing done that required you to drink radionuclides or radiopaque agents, then postpone your scan for at least 72 hours.

Medication indications: Do not take any Calcium Carbonate (i.e., Tums or Caltrate) supplements 24 hours prior to the scan. Calcium Citrate (i.e., Citracal) is OK to take.

Insurance coverage: Medicare usually covers a bone density scan every two (2) years plus one (1) day. However, it is your responsibility to know if there is a frequency restriction with your insurance carrier and if you are required to have a scan done at a facility approved by your insurance plan.

Make an appointment with a specialist at Moreland OB-GYN

Contact us today to request an appointment and receive a Bone Density Patient Questionnaire, which you can fill out prior to your visit.