Bone Density Frequently Asked Questions
What is a bone density test?
A bone density test is a dual energy x-ray of the hip, spine or forearm. A bone density scan can tell if you have osteoporosis – a disease where decreased bone strength increases the risk of a broken bone. It is the most common reason for a broken bone among the elderly. Bones that commonly break include the back bones, the bones of the forearm and the hip. There are typically no symptoms until a broken bone occurs.
Why should I have a bone density test?
Bone density testing is recommended for all women over the age of 65 and postmenopausal women under 65 years who have risk factors for osteoporosis other than menopause.
The following are potential risk factors for osteoporosis that might suggest the need for a bone density test:
- Personal history of fracture as an adult
- History of fracture in first-degree relative
- Low body weight or thin body stature
- Advanced age
- Current cigarette smoking
- Use of corticosteroid therapy for more than three months
- Impaired vision
- Estrogen deficiency at early age
- Poor health/frailty
- Recent falls
- Lifelong low calcium intake
- Low physical activity
- Alcohol intake of more than two drinks per day
- Thyroid disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Excessive caffeine consumption
- Use of oral contraceptive (birth control pills)
How long does a bone density test take?
Total body measurements take less than 20 minutes.
How do I prepare for a bone density test?
On the day of your test, please wear comfortable clothing (two-piece) without metal fasteners. Let the person doing the test know if you have a surgical device or implant such as a hip replacement, colostomy, etc. You should not have a barium study or nuclear scan 7 days before your bone density exam.
Is a bone density test painful?
During the test, you'll lie on a table during the x-ray – if lying on your back is difficult, you may find this uncomfortable.
When will I receive my test results?
A radiologist, a medical doctor who specializes in reading x-rays, will review your tests and send a report to your doctor, usually within 3 – 4 business days.
We offer bone density screening at two convenient locations. To schedule an appointment, call 417.347.7777.
Wes & Jan Houser Women's Pavilion
located inside Freeman Women's Center
1532 W. 32nd Street
Freeman Neosho Women's Pavilion
located inside Freeman Neosho Medical Building
336 Jefferson St.