The condition known as "osteoporosis" is most frequently diagnosed following a problem wherein weakened bones have led to a fracture. If you, or your doctor, believes that you are at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis, then you may be referred to a specialist for a bone mineral density scan, otherwise known as a DXA or DEXA scan. Although normal x-rays can be useful in identifying fractures, they are no good when it comes to verifying T scores for osteoporosis, as they are not a reliable way to measure bone density.
A DEXA scan, on the other hand, can help to determine your T Scores for Osteoporosis, so that you can hopefully obtain a quick and accurate diagnosis. DEXA scans are safe, painless, and quick procedures that typically take somewhere around five minutes, depending on the area in your body that is being scanned. The scan will measure everything it can about your bone density. And then that will be compared to the mineral density within the bones of a healthy adult at the same age, and of the same sex as you. To find your T scores for osteoporosis, the difference between your bone density and that of another healthy adult will be calculated to reveal the T score.
Using A T Score
Once a doctor has your T score, this will be compared to what is normally expected from a healthy young adult of the same sex. Your T-Score will be measured by the number of units that your bone density exists below or above the average.
If your T-score is -1 or above, it will be considered as normal. On the other hand, if your score is between -1 and -2.5 then your score could be a sign of osteopenia, a condition that shows bone density as being lower than normal, and potentially a risk factor for osteoporosis later in life. If your score is -.25 or below, then this indicates that you are likely to have osteoporosis.
What Your T-Score Means
Importantly, while being told that your bones are thin can be a cause for concern, you shouldn't be too alarmed by the issue. Instead, it's worth preparing yourself to know what you should expect. First of all, unless you are a man who is older than fifty, or a woman past menopause, then your risk of fracture is incredibly low. In these groups, even if you do have a T-Score that is less than -2.5 your bones will still be strong, and treatment will not be recommended.
On the other hand, if you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, it's important to take the condition seriously, as fractures in the spine can often be painless and silent. Crucially, it is possible for your doctor to help you come up with a plan of action that involves taking positive steps towards better bone health. If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, or you are told that you need treatment, your doctor should be able to inform you of the safest and most successful treatment plan available for you.