Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Osteoporosis Health Center

Select An Article
Font Size

Bone Density Scan

What Is Bone Mineral Density Testing?

The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that 10 million people in the U.S. have osteoporosis and nearly 34 million more have osteopenia, which puts them at greater risk for osteoporosis.

Bone mineral density(BMD) is related to bone strength. BMD testing is used to diagnose osteoporosis. BMD is measured with a test called a DXA scan. By measuring BMD, doctors can predict the risk of having a bone fracture. 

Recommended Related to Osteoporosis

Bone Scans and Bone Health Screenings

A bone density scan can detect thinning bones at an early stage. If you already have osteoporosis, bone scans can also tell you how fast the disease is progressing. But an abnormal bone scan can create as many questions as it answers. Who should get a bone density scan, and what do the results mean? If your bone density is below normal, what can you expect, and what should you do?

Read the Bone Scans and Bone Health Screenings article > >

A bone density scan, or test, should not be confused with a bone scan, which is used to find tumors, cancer, fractures, and infections in the bone.

What Do Bone Mineral Density Test Results Mean?

  • Normal: Bones have a density that is healthy.
  • Low bone mass (medically termed osteopenia): Bones show the beginning of bone loss, but not enough to be osteoporosis.
  • Osteoporosis: Bones are weak and porous, and more likely to break.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on October 04, 2012
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Women working out and walking with weights
Reduce bone loss and build stronger muscles.
Chinese cabbage
Calcium-rich foods to add to your diet.
 
woman stretching
Get the facts on osteoporosis.
Porous bone
Causes, symptoms, risk factors, and treatment.
 
Lactose Intolerance
Article
Woman holding plate of brocolli
Article
 
Dairy products
Tool
Superfood for Bones
Slideshow
 
Screening Tests for Women
Slideshow
exercise endometrial cancer
Article
 
hand holding medicine
Article
Working Out With Osteoporosis
Video