A bone mineral density test uses X-rays to measure the amount of minerals — namely calcium — in your bones. This test is important for people who are at risk for osteoporosis, especially women and older adults.
The test is also referred to as dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). It’s an important test for osteoporosis, which is the most common type of bone disease. Osteoporosis causes your bone tissue to become thin and frail over time and leads to disabling fractures.
Your doctor may order a bone mineral density test if they suspect that your bones are becoming weaker, you’re displaying symptoms of osteoporosis, or you’ve reached the age when preventive screening is necessary.
It is recommended that the following people get preventive screenings for bone mineral density:
- all women over the age of 65
- women under the age of 65 who have a high risk of fractures