When Should You Get a Bone Density Test

Health / Osteoporosis / February 7, 2011

Bone Density Test And T-Score, What Are These?

Dr. Ethel Siris shares when women should have a bone density test.

Video Transcription

It’s something that’s relatively widely available, it’s covered by most insurances. It involves lying down, generally fully clothed, on a scanning table, and a scanning arm painlessly and non-invasively scans over your spine, and then over your hips, to help determine the quantity of bone that you have. The results are calculated in a computer, and you’re told your T-score; that’s the result of the bone density test. You’re given what’s T-score.

If your score is between 0 and -1, you are considered normal. If it’s between -1 and -2.49, it’s called low bone mass, sometimes referred to as osteopenia, but we prefer low bone mass. If it’s below -2.5, that’s called osteoporosis. You can only use those terms if you’re woman and you’re post-menopausal. If you’re pre-menopausal, you might get one of those labels given to you, but it doesn’t have the same meaning as it does when you’re post-menopausal.


Bone Density Test, When Should Women Get This?

Dr. Ethel Siris explains Bone Density Test Scores.

Video Transcription

The Federal Government has advised that if you’re 65, you’ve never had a DEXA, you need it, period. Medicare will cover it. They’ll let you also do follow-up DEXAs if you need them, every 2 years and cover it. In certain situations if you’re being treated a year apart, it will be covered by Medicare. Welcome to Medicare tells you, you need a DEXA.

What if you’re less than 65? If you’re a post-menopausal woman under 65, most people feel that if you have risk factors for osteoporosis or fracture, you should have a DEXA. Most of the commercial carriers will cover paying for that DEXA if you’re post-menopausal and you have risk factors, and that’s documented.


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