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Getting Your T-score

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One of the most common ways to estimate the strength of your bone is to measure your bone mineral density (BMD) with a DXA scan, also known as dual X-ray absorptiometry. The test takes 20 minutes or less. It is non-invasive (doesn't penetrate the body's skin), causes no pain and is performed with low levels of radiation - less than from a typical chest X-ray. The DXA measures your BMD at the spine and hip, and occasionally in other locations, and provide the T-score.

The test will help predit your chances of breaking a bone and confirm that you have osteoporosis after a fracture. Over time, the test will analyze your rate of bone loss and evaluate wheater treatment for osteporosis has been effective. 

Knowing the T-score Once you have a scan, what does the result mean?  With the DXA scan, the amount of bone you have (your "bone density") is compared to the bone density of a healthy young adult, who should have the most optimal amount of bone or ³peak bone mass." Your healthcare professional will give you your test results in a T-score. The T-score is a very important measurement because it helps identify people at highest risk before they get a facture. As defined by the World Health Organization, a normal T-score ranges from +1 to -1. Low bone mass is -1 to -2.5. Osteoporosis is defined as -2.5 or lower. The lower your T-score, the higher your risk for a fracture. However, you can still have a score not low enough to be defined as "osteoporosis" and still be at risk of having a broken bone because of other factors.