What is bone mineral density testing (bone densitometry)?

Bone mineral density testing, also known as bone densitometry, quickly and accurately measures the amount of calcium in certain parts of your bones. From this information, your doctor can determine how strong your bones are and what your risk of fracture is.

The test is used to detect osteoporosis and osteopenia. Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bone's mineral content and density are low, increasing a person's risk of fracture. Osteopenia is a disease where bone density is decreased and this can be a precursor to later osteoporosis.

Why do menopausal women need bone mineral density testing?

There is a direct relationship between the lack of estrogen after menopause and the contribution to osteoporosis. Because symptoms of osteoporosis may not develop until bone loss is extensive, it is important for women at risk for osteoporosis to undergo periodic bone testing.

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