Bone Mineral Density (BMD)

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A bone mineral density (BMD) test measures how much calcium and other types of minerals are in an area of your bone.

This test helps your health care provider detect osteoporosis and predict your risk of bone fractures.

How the Test is Performed ?

Bone density testing can be done several different ways.

The most common and accurate way uses a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan. DEXA uses low-dose x-rays. (You receive more radiation with a chest x-ray.)

How to Prepare for the Test ?

If you are or could be pregnant, tell your health care provider before this test is done.

Why the Test is Performed ?

Bone mineral density (BMD) tests are used to:

Women under age 65 and men ages 50 to 70 are at increased risk of osteoporosis if they have:

Current practice recommends BMD retesting every 1 or 2 years.


Bone mineral density uses a slight amount of radiation. Most doctors feel that the risk is very low compared with the benefits of finding osteoporosis before you break a bone.