How do you read a bone density x-ray?

Compare to others. Bone mineral density results are interpreted by comparing your density either to that of persons the same age, sex, and race as you (a z-score) or to persons of the same sex and race at peak bone density (young adult t-score). Adult definitions of osteopenia and osteoporosis are based on t-score results, with osteoporosis at a t-score of -2.5. For children z-scores are the only appropriate value.
There are values. You dont read it like a normal x ray but there are values attached to the scan that we use to determine the amount of bone loss.
T-score is. the number of standard deviations from the mean that your bone density is, compared to young adults. A positive number means higher than average density, a negative number is lower. By definition, osteopenia is a T score less than -1.0, but greater than -2.5. Osteoporosis is a T score of -2.5 or less. Z-score compares your density to the mean of women your age.

Related Questions

My mother is 81 years old. When she walks, after 10 minutes she felt pain in her hips. The X-ray said her bone density drop. How to remedy? Thank you.

Spinal pathology. Pain in the buttocks, going down the legs after walking for awhile is commonly caused by arthritis in the spine, which presses on the nerves causing the pain. Low bone calcium (osteopenia or osteoporosis) can lead to bone fracture, commonly in the spine (compression fractures) or hip fractures, which hurt with both motion and weight bearing. Hip fracture pain is felt inthe groin. Read more...

I underwent a back X-Ray due to back pain. It showed generalized diminished bone density and mild scoliotic change in the lumbar vertebrae, while the intervertebral space is unchanged. I'll undergo an MRI, should I be worried?

No. Unfortunately some of the back changes we get are genetic and some are from overuse. Once the results of your MRI are known, your doctor will have some solutions of how to treat your problems. All the best. Read more...
No. The findings you described are not a cause of worry in the short term. However you will need to address osteopenia that could predispose you to fractures in later life. Please follow your doctor's advise on taking calcium and vitamin D. Read more...
Nothing to be. terribly scared about right now as this is just an imaging study. I would be somewhat concerned about "generalized" demineralization at your age but this is a bit subjective on the radiologist's report and should be characterized better. Everything else you reported is nothing significant. Read more...
BACK PAIN. Thus far there is nothing you've mentioned on the X-ray that is a source of acute back pain so no reason to worry based on x-ray; having said that it was a waste to get the x-ray unless it was post trauma.MRI is the standard radiographic eval for back pain. Is this from an MVA? If so, it is likely a muscle strain. Read more...