Skip to content

Osteoporosis Health Center

Select An Article

Bone Density Scan

Font Size

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

Calcium: Gotta Have It for Healthy Bones

Got milk? That's not just an advertising slogan. It's a legitimate question. Milk and other calcium-rich foods are an important part of a bone-healthy lifestyle that can not only reduce the risk of fractures as you get older, but may also protect against certain cancers. Many people have also taken to popping calcium supplements as a preventive measure against disease. But can they really help? A recent report published in the Harvard Health Letter shows no connection between high calcium intake...

Read the Calcium: Gotta Have It for Healthy Bones 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 Trina Pagano, MD on October 24, 2014
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