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Know Everything About Bone Density Test
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Know Everything About Bone Density Test

A bone density test is a type of test that uses a low dose of X-Ray to measure calcium and other minerals in your bones. This bone mineral density test assesses the strength and thickness of your bones.

With age, people’s bones get thinner and when bones become thinner than normal, it is called osteopenia. Osteopenia may lead to a serious condition called osteoporosis. In osteoporosis, your bones become very thin and brittle. Osteoporosis is common among older people and it mainly affects women above 65 years. People with osteoporosis are more prone to getting fractures, especially in their hips, spine, and wrists.

Know Everything About Bone Density Test

A bone density test measures whether you have osteoporosis or not. Commonly bones of the hip, spine, and forearm are tested.

The cost of the bone density test is Rs. 2730 to Rs. 5500, depending on your location and place.

Please check the price of the bone density test in Delhi/NCR, your nearby centers and other details.

Test Summary

Also known as Bone Mineral Density Test, BMD test, DEXA Scan, DXA; Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry
Test Type Imaging
Bone density test includes To check whether you have osteoporosis or not
Preparation Stop taking calcium supplements before 24-48 hours of the test
Reporting Within 24 hours
Test price The cost of the bone density test is Rs.2730 to Rs. 5500, depending on your location and place.
Also included in Health Insurance Plans
Related tests Vitamin D test, Calcium blood test, and hormonal test


Osteopenia Symptoms

Osteopenia doesn’t have any prominent signs or symptoms until it develops into osteoporosis. In rare cases, people with osteopenia may have bone pain or weakness. If you go for a BMD screening, then you may have this condition.

Why do you need this test?

Your doctor may suggest this test,

  • To identify diseases before you break a bone
  • To check your risk of broken bones (fractures)
  • To confirm a diagnosis of osteoporosis
  • To monitor the progress of osteoporosis


If your bones have more mineral content, then they could be sturdier and stronger. This indicates they will be less likely to break.

Bone density tests are not the same as bone scans. Bone scans are useful in detecting fractures, cancer, infections and other abnormalities in the bone.

Though osteoporosis is common in women, men may also get this condition. Your doctor will suggest this test if you

Lost Height

 People who have lost at least 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) in height may suffer from compression fractures in their spines. This is a prime cause of osteoporosis.

Fractured a Bone

When a bone becomes fragile it breaks more easily than expected. Sometimes, due to cough or sneezing, bone fragility occurs

Taken Certain Drugs

 If you use steroid medications like prednisone, it may interfere with the bone-rebuilding process. As a result, you may get osteoporosis.

Had a Drop in Hormone Levels

Hormonal changes occur after menopause. Women’s estrogen levels may drop during the treatment of certain cancer. Some prostate cancer treatments may lessen testosterone levels in men.

The Preparation for the Test

The bone density test is convenient, easy, and painless. No special preparations are required.

  • But if you performed a barium exam or had contrast material injected for a CT scan or nuclear medicine test, inform your doctor about the same. Contrast materials might interfere with your bone density test.
  • Don’t take calcium supplements for at least 24 hours before your bone density test
  • Wear loose and comfortable clothing items. Keep your jewelry and metal items at the home


During the Test Procedure

In the hospital, this test is conducted by using a device where you need to lie down on a padded platform while a mechanical arm passes over your body. The radiation is very low, much less than the amount of chest X-rays. The entire process takes 10 to 30 minutes.

By using a small and portable machine, your bone density in the bones at the far ends of your skeleton, such as those in your finger, wrist or heel can be measured. These instruments are called peripheral devices and are often used at health camps and fairs.

The bone density may vary from one location in your body to another. If you test positive on a peripheral device, your doctor may refer you to a follow-up scan of your spine or hip to confirm your diagnosis.

The Interpretation of the Results

You will get your bone density results in the form of a T score. A T score compares your density measurement with the bone density of a healthy 30-year-old. A low T score indicates you probably have some bone loss.

Your results could be

  • A T score of -1.0 or higher. This is called normal bone density
  • A T score between -1.0 and -2.5. This implies you have a low bone density (osteopenia) and may be at risk for developing osteoporosis.
  • A T score of -2.5 or less. This reveals you have osteoporosis


If you have low bone density, your doctor may recommend the proper line of treatment to prevent further bone loss. These may include:

  • More exercises like walking, dancing, and using weight machines
  • Incorporate calcium and vitamin D into your diet
  • Taking prescribed medicines that will enhance bone density


What are the risks of this bone density test?

Since this test uses very low doses of radiation, it is safe for most people. But it is not recommended for pregnant women. If you are pregnant, inform your doctor about the same before doing this test.

Can I drink milk before the bone density test?

Calcium won’t dissolve quickly and may show up in the scan. You can intake calcium naturally on the day of the test and it will not affect the test results. So, you can consume calcium-rich food and drinks, such as milk, yogurt and orange juice.

What medications should not be taken with calcium?

Your calcium absorption may decrease with drugs such as tetracycline antibiotics (for example, doxycycline, minocycline), bisphosphonates (such as alendronate), estramustine, levothyroxine, and quinolone antibiotics (such as ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin).

Can I drink coffee before a bone density test?

You can take coffee before the test.  Consuming any drinks, including coffee before your scan may not impact the results.

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