Bone Density Tests and Differing Results
Q: Two years ago (at age 52), I had a bone density test at a radiology center
and my Ob-Gyn reported that I was in the "very high" range for 26
year olds. This week I had a full body scan and was told the bone scan rating
indicates severe decline for a woman of my age.
As I am physically very active and have not changed my day-to-day routine over
the past few years, I find these differing results impossible to accept. I think
I would have noticed a drastic change over such a short period of time. Which
test is correct or can they both be?
Thank you, CC (Confused and Concerned!)
Dr. Donnica: It is possible that both tests are correct. A lot can
change in 2 years, especially at your age. Have you gone through menopause
during this time? The most dramatic period of bone loss for women is in
the first 5 years of menopause. You should speak with your doctor about
preventive and treatment options so that you don't experience further bone density
This having been said, there is often variation in results between machines, and
in the interpretation of testing results. In general, I recommend that whenever
possible, women have their repeat bone density tests on the same machines at the
same centers. The "gold standard" test is a DEXA.
For more information on osteoporosis, click here.
For more information about menopause, click here.
Donnica L. Moore, MD
Created: 11/23/2002  - Donnica Moore, M.D.