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Doctor insights on: How Accurate Is The Heel Bone Density Test

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How accurate is the heel bone density test?

How accurate is the heel bone density test?

Depends: The diagnosis of osteopenia and osteoporosis are generally made from a dxa machine that tests the spine and hip. The heel test is done with a portable device that is used to screen for bone loss. Although accurate statistically, it is not used clinically unless there is not a device that will measure the spine and hip. The heel should not be used to follow the rate of change in the bone density.

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Bone (Definition)

Bone is a living growing tissue made mostly of collagen (protein that provides soft framework) & the mineral calcium phosphate that adds strength & hardens the framework. Two types of bone are found in the body; cortical (dense compact outer layer) & trabecular (makes up inner layer, ...Read more


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Can I get an inaccurate reading from the heel bone density test?

Can I get an inaccurate reading from the heel bone density test?

Bone density: Any test can give an inaccurate reading, especially the pharmacy located devices. See your family doc for a more accurate test that usually takes place at the hip area

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When could I get a bone density test?

When could I get a bone density test?

Depends who you ask: Recommendations say age 60 now but ages 50-60 are when the most bone is lost so it would be good to know where you stand about age 50. If you have been on oral steroids for a long time or if your vit d level is low then you might need a scan even earlier. I do not agree that age 60 is the ideal age for a density scan but many doctors start at that age. I think the cat is out of the bag by then.

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What is a ultrasonic bone density test?

What is a ultrasonic bone density test?

A DXA alternative: The dual energy x-ray analysis (dexa or dxa) is considered the "gold standard" for measuring the mineral content of your bone. A similar measurement can be done with ct-scans or ultrasound, where the impedance of the sound wave can be correlated with bone mineral. None of these tests provide much definitive information about fracture risks. Ask you doctor for a frax clinical analysis first!

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Should I go for bone density test, would they weigh you?

No: They don't need to weigh you. It is a simple, quick test. You lay on a table and the scan is performed by the tech.

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I had a Bone Density test. The result was : R-6.59 L-6.20 Lumbar 9.82 What does this mean?

I had a Bone Density test. The result was : R-6.59 L-6.20 Lumbar 9.82 What does this mean?

Numbers look wrong: Central DXAs measure bone density at the lumbar spine and left and right total hips/femoral necks. Results are presented as actual BMC (bone mineral content (ie, 0.887, 0.7436, etc) and as a T-score (standard deviations above/below ur bone density is from woman's peak bone mass). T-scores are usually presented as a + or - number: >-1.0 normal, -1.0 to -2.4 osteopenia,

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Does a bone density test usually hurt?

Does a bone density test usually hurt?

No: The best bone density test, called dxa, does not use any needles. A person lies on a table and a very small dose of radiation passes through the lower spine and hip to measure bone density. It is painless.

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Will my insurance cover a bone density test?

Will my insurance cover a bone density test?

Maybe: Depends on your insurance. For postmenopausal women a bone density test can be an important part of preventive care. If your insurance covers preventive care, such a test may be included.

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How does the bone density test define osteoporosis?

How does the bone density test define osteoporosis?

Only partly: The dexa scan gives the bone mineral density at the hips, spine and forearm. These scores can predict osteoporosis: 't-score' of less than -2.5 is considered osteoporosis. However, many people suffer osteoporosis fractures despite having better bone densities. So, we also use other factors: age, ethnicity, size, family history, prior fractures, smoking, alcohol, other conditions to predict risks.

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Can you advise me on going for bone density test, would they weigh you?

Can you advise me on going for bone density test, would they weigh you?

No: They don't need to weigh you. It is a simple, quick test. You lay on a table and the scan is performed by the tech.

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I have to get a bone density test done I'm just wandering, do they weigh you, what to do?

I have to get a bone density test done I'm just wandering, do they weigh you, what to do?

No: They don't need to weigh you. It is a simple, quick test. You lay on a table and the scan is performed by the tech.

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What to do if I have to get a bone density test done I'm just wandering, do they weigh you?

DXA: A bone densitometry test, or DXA, is fast and easy. Yes, they weight you. It's very useful information, and can allow intervention to reduce fracture risk before a fracture occurs.

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What to do if I want to go for a bone density test to determine my bone age. Can I go polyclinic to ask?

What to do if I want to go for a bone density test to determine my bone age. Can I go polyclinic to ask?

Bone density: Determination and bone age determination are two separate tests, but most hospital imaging departments or outpatient imaging centers can probably do either one.

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I had a bone density test and it said I have generalized skeletal osteopenia. I'm a little worried I'm 56 years old. Is bone loss common at my age?

Bone loss is: Accelerated after menopause, . Bone scans are not typically done at this age. Assuming you have no hormonal deficiencies - ie thyroid, you should be taking at calcium and vitamin d. You should exercise, eat a balanced diet, Only your Doctor can decide if you needed a prescription medication and is common in women (and men) as we age.

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If the calcium and magnesium levels are good on my lab test, do is still need a bone density test? Are these related or not?

If the calcium and magnesium levels are good on my lab test, do is still need a bone density test? Are these related or not?

#1=yes, #2 = no.: Serum calcium levels are tightly controlled by a hormone in four tiny glands inside the thyroid gland called parathyroid glands. If calcium levels are abnormal and confirmed abnormal, need to work up for kidney, bone or parathyroid disease. Bone density has no relation to normal calcium levels, so if the test is indicated, do it. Magnesium may become low on diuretics (like potassium), not related.

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Bone density test shows osteoporosis of the spine & hip, hip:-3.03, spine:-3.58 what is the recommended treatment?

Osteoporosis: Sir you have osteoporosis and it may be a bad case. You should discuss this with your doctor at once and obtain medical treatment. Exercise, calcium, and vitamin d are going to be insufficient. You will likely need a bisphosphonate like alendronate, pamidronate, or zoledronic acid.

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What does a "low normal" bone density test mean?

What does a "low normal" bone density test mean?

Very little!: When the world health organization arbitrarily set a level of bone mineral density (bmd) below which a person was said "to have" osteoporosis, the opportunity was immediately seized by interested parties to declare a range better than that density but adjacent to it as "osteopenia". Above that is called "normal" bmd is a continuum! Normal is normal. Low normal means normal.

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Dr. Robert Lang
1,161 Doctors shared insights

Bone Density (Definition)

Bone density (or bone mineral density) is a medical term normally referring to the amount of mineral matter per square centimeter of bones. Bone density (or bmd) is used in clinical medicine as an indirect indicator of ...Read more