A BMD is a simple scan that measures the density of your bones, usually at the hip and spine.
BMD uses a DEXA scanner (Dual Energy X-ray Absorption) which works by passing two very low dose x-ray beams at differing energy levels through the bones. Bones with different densities will absorb the x-rays differently, allowing computer calculations of the relative densities.
The scan is conducted with a part of the scanner moving up and down the padded table on which you are lying. The scan is quite quick and only takes around 15 minutes. Most patients find Bone Mineral Density Scans to be quick and easy, and you remain fully clothed throughout the examination.
Why should I have a scan?
If you have risk factors which contribute to low bone density, it is advisable to have the density measured . If your bone density is low, the chance of a fracture from minimal trauma is greatly increased.
An early detection of low bone mineral density will allow your doctor to prescribe preventative treatment. Treatment can halt the progression of such conditions as osteoporosis and in many cases, improve the density of your bones.
Medicare rebates apply for many people who will require a BMD. Our friendly clerical team can advise on your eligibility for a Medicare rebate. Some private health funds provide a reimbursement; please check with your fund.
Medicare rebates apply for people who:
- Have previously been diagnosed with osteoporosis.
- Have one or more fractures previously from a minor incident.
- Women with early menopause.
- Men with low testosterone.
- Have coeliac disease (or other malabsorption conditions), overactive thyroid, parathyroid conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, liver or kidney disease.
- Are 70 years or over.
What do the results tell me?
A BMD will determine if any action is needed to improve your bone density. The result will indicate if your bones are in the range of normal, osteopenia (low bone density) or osteoporosis.
Normal – You should maintain adequate calcium, vitamin D, exercise and a healthy lifestyle to promote continued bone health.
Osteopenia (low bone density) – Your doctor will check your calcium intake, vitamin D level and exercise habits to see if improvements can be made. The aim of an early intervention is to slow down bone loss and prevent progression to osteoporosis. Your doctor will also check any conditions or medications which may be affecting your bone health. You will usually require follow up scans every 2 years.
Osteoporosis – If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis your doctor will commence treatment. Your calcium and Vitamin D levels will be checked and specific exercises recommended. Halt the progression of the osteoporosis and reduce the likelihood of a fracture.
More Information for Patients: www.insideradiology.com.au/bone-mineral-density-scan/
Information for Health Professionals: www.insideradiology.com.au/bone-mineral-density-scan-hp/