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Interpreting Bone Density Results

Author Zizzur Staff. Published on October 17, 2011 - 1:07 am (401 views — 404 words)

A person manifesting the signs and symptoms of osteoporosis has no recourse but submit to bone mineral density (BMD) test to validate suspicion and to assess the extent of the condition of the disease. The wait for the results is a nerve-wracking experience that is complicated by the use of technical words. Patients lacking medical background have difficulty understanding their medical condition as their doctors explain their case in a technical and incomprehensible manner.


What can the patient with low bone mass hope to get from bone density results? T- and Z-scores are given to represent the findings if the method used is DEXA (double-energy X-ray absorptiometry) or densitometry. The findings generated by the DEXA are compared to the bone densities of normal adults; a comparison with a 30 year old as standard will yield the T-score and a comparison with another same age standard will give the Z-score. T-and Z-scores are derived statistically by comparing a data or result; in this case, with the average or mean of a sample population. In simple terms, a T-score means good and normal if it is better than -1.0 while osteopenia, a case where bone density is low but not enough basis to suggest osteoporosis yet, is indicated by a T-score of -1.0 through -2.5 and osteoporosis is indicated with a T-score of -2.5 or even less. An alarming result would be a T-score lower than -2.5 as it indicates severe osteoporosis.

It must be pointed however, that bone density results only intend to assess the condition of the bone and the occurrence of bone loss. If it does, then the degree is determined to be able to make the right decisions in order to manage the medical condition. The results cannot calculate the occurrence of fractures, it only suggests the susceptibility and possibility of its occurrence based on how weak the bones are;that is why a treatment and management program is necessary.


As a matter of importance, there is a need to comprehend the bone density results so that everyone involved would be able to participate as an intervention program is created for the benefit of the patient with bone loss. A good medical basis is required in order to establish a suitable treatment plan and that is rendered by the bone density results. Despite incomprehensible results, find a way to understand them: do the assignment. Stay on top of it all, know the facts.