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A bone density scan is very similar to an X-ray. Two X-rays are taken at the same time with different settings, then the absorption rate is measured to determine the Bone Mineral Density. From this information we can determine the rate of loss in the bone’s density.
It’s recommended that women over the age of 65 get regular bone density scans. If they have a predisposition or preexisting condition that makes them susceptible to osteoporosis, we recommend getting scanned at an earlier age. As for men, the exact age has not been determined but studies suggest that men should be scanned at the age of 70.
Lifestyle choices such as having been a heavy smoker or prolonged, consistent drinking increase your risk of osteoporosis. Some pre-existing conditions to consider early testing for are any history of hip fracture (parental), rheumatoid arthritis, renal and/or liver disease and chronic respiratory disease.
Certain medication can also cause a predisposition to bone density loss such as glucocorticoids, phenobarbital or phenytoin.