The bone mineral density test is an outpatient procedure in scanning centres that is painless and instant as it does not involve any needle or injection. The home bone density test is done with a portable scanning machine. Both are done with the help of X-rays to estimate the thickness and density of the bones. The bone is supposed to have more minerals and calcium. The bones are considered solid and dense only when they have higher quantities of both calcium and minerals. If they reduce, they are likely to break easily. However, the bone density test cost is considered relatively expensive compared to other lab tests and scans. There are few tests to determine the bone density, which is elaborated below:
The two types of DEXA scans are central and peripheral DEXA. The central DEXA scan device has a massive flat table with an arm suspended overhead to produce the X-rays. The peripheral DEXA apparatus weighs only 60 pounds and is available along with various drugstores. The peripheral DEXA scan is a home bone density test as they have portable machines to determine the bone density along the heel, finger or wrists. This bone density test cost is lower than the one done in a scan centre. DEXA is the most common bone density test done widely, and the stepwise preliminary precautions to take before the test are:
The initial step to perform before any bone density test procedure is to remove any metal parts from the body. These can be belts, buttons, zippers, and other accessories that have metal in them.
The patient has to stop calcium supplements at least 24 hours before the examination.
If the patient has taken any kind of barium or contrasts dyes while performing an MRI or CT scan, they must wait for a week to perform the central DEXA. This is because the dye will interrupt the bone health screening procedures.
Wear only loose-fitting clothes so that there is no hindrance during the scanning process.
Inform the physician if you are pregnant as the radiation exposure might harm the unborn baby. This step is a precautionary one that takes for both the central DEXA and home bone density test.
The central DEXA scanning process is discussed here. This scan determines the mineral content in bone areas like hip, spine and wrist and works as:
First, the patient has to lie flat on an X-ray table.
The technician will correct the posture of the patient and the machine's position to achieve the convenient form with foam blocks.
The DEXA arm will pass all over the body with two kinds of beams.
The scanning beams will use low-intensity radiation to distinguish the bones from the tissues of the body. This radiation is very safe for the majority of the population.
The analysed body parts are then converted into pictures with the help of a scanner.
A graph is achieved with the bone visible in white colour, whereas the fat, muscle and tissues in the body are shadowed and portrayed in dark grey.
A radiologist then interprets the results after reviewing them thoroughly.
A written report is then sent to the healthcare provider.
The healthcare provider then suggests the type of treatment for the patient.
The peripheral DEXA scan can be effortlessly performed as a home bone density test. It is comparatively less expensive than a central DEXA scan and saves more time and energy. Moreover, it is easy to monitor from time to time frequently owing to its easy mechanism.
Place the peripheral DEXA machine in a suitable place to determine the values of the finger, heel, or wrist.
Place the corresponding part of the body in the space provided in the machine after switching it on.
This machine will pass a ray beam to measure the bone density and provide a value on its screen.
This can be connected to a printer to make a copy of the report.
The test results are mentioned as T and Z scores. T score osteoporosis is the most vital column to be checked as it is the patient's bone density calculated by correlating with a young and healthy person's bone density. At the same time, the Z score is the correlated bone density value calculated with another healthy person of the same age and sex.
The other bone density test which is related to the proper functioning of the bones:
Calcium: Calcium is the major component for the bones, teeth, heart, kidney, and nerves. So, it is a necessary BMD test to determine the calcium levels in the body to cross-check the overall health. For example, hypercalcemia is a condition in which the calcium in the blood is more than the normal levels, which eventually weakens the bones. So, calcium screening will be the preliminary test to determine the bone condition, and then the following tests will be performed in order.
Phosphorus, Serum: The phosphorus in the blood is a basic test to identify whether it has abnormally high or low levels of phosphorus in it. When there is too much phosphorus in the blood, it is called hyperphosphatemia, leading to osteoporosis. If there are significantly fewer amounts of phosphorus in the blood, it is known as hypophosphatemia. This BMD test is essential to analyse the core problem of the bone or the reason that will trigger them in the long run.
Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP): This BMD test is taken to find the levels of ALP enzyme in the blood to indicate any damage on the bones, liver and bile ducts. These enzymes are found in several tissues in the body. If the enzyme levels are high, it pinpoints specific health issues, which are vital to understanding the problem clearly and taking further steps to treat it.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone: This is another BMD test to monitor the amounts of this particular hormone to check the functioning of the thyroid gland. Thyroid disorders are related to bone health, and this test is essential to resolve conditions like hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
Uric Acid: The uric test is used to determine the amounts of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid levels are directly related to joint pains and indicate conditions like gout.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is the essential nutrient to help the body absorb calcium. If the levels drop in the body, it will result in bone problems, muscle pain, fatigue and general illness. Hence BMD test is essential to identify whether the bone is in good condition.
T, T4: T3 is known as Triiofothyronine, and T4 is called Thyroxine. They are tested to determine how effective the thyroid treatment is proceeding and how the body responds to it. This BMD test is again crucial to find the problem in the thyroid functioning, which will lead to osteoporosis.
Haemogram: Haemogram is a CBC test
to check the body for any infection by calculating the number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets in the blood. Most of the time, this test is used to detect the early stages of blood cancers.
Vitamin B12: This vitamin test
clearly states that vitamin B12 is used by the body to absorb iron to the system, and along with vitamin B9, it helps the nerves. This again is indirectly linked with the bone health of the human system.
Electrolyte Profile: In this BMD test, the sodium, potassium and chloride levels are evaluated to check whether water and pH levels in the body are balanced. Only if they are balanced they will help to maintain good bone health.
: The hemoglobin amount in the blood is calculated using the iron profile test to determine and rule out anemia condition in an individual. As hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body, any dip in their levels will deteriorate bone health and symptoms like fatigue, headache, and breathlessness.