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What is Bone Mineral Densitometry?

A bone mineral densitometry test, also known as a bone mineral density or BMD test, is an enhanced form of low energy X-ray technology specifically designed to detect possible bone loss or Osteoporosis.

Low dose x-rays are used to measure the amount of bone minerals in specific areas most commonly at the lumbar spine, hip and forearm.

A BMD test can:

  • identify decreases in bone density, especially if you have specific risk factors such as older age, menopause, are taking certain medications or have a history of height loss or low-trauma fractures
  • determine future risk of bone fracture
  • confirm diagnosis of Osteoporosis
  • monitor bone density over time, especially if on osteoporosis treatment
  • help your physician suggest steps to protect your bones

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a potentially crippling disease characterized by low bone density and deterioration of bone tissue. The condition leads to increased bone fragility and risk of fracture, most often at the spine, wrist or hip. Osteoporosis does not develop overnight. You can lose bone mass steadily for many years without experiencing any symptoms or signs. At least 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will suffer from an Osteoporotic fracture during their lifetime.

Who should have a BMD test?

All women and men age 65+

Women and men under age 65 with risk factors including:

  • Fracture after a minor fall or bump
  • Prolonged oral steroid use (such as Prednisone)
  • Menopause, especially early menopause (before age 45)
  • Spine fracture or low bone density identified on X-ray
  • Conditions such as: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s or Celiac disease, Hyperparathyroidism, overactive thyroid, diabetes, liver or kidney disease and their associated treatments
  • Low body weight (less than 60kg)

Exam Duration

30 Minutes – 45 Minutes

Bone Mineral Densitometry Pricing

Covered by Alberta Health Care