How to Prepare for Your Bone Densitometry

How to Prepare for Your Bone Densitometry

Bone scans are a fast, simple way to measure the concentration of minerals in your bones. When your bones are dense with minerals, they’re strong and resist breakage. But if your bones lose density, they become more porous and fracture more easily. 

Normal, healthy bone mass consists of about 65% hydroxyapatite, 25% water, 10% of a collagen and protein bone matrix, and small amounts of magnesium, sodium, and bicarbonate. 

As you age, your estrogen or testosterone levels drop and your bones begin to lose density and strength, putting you at risk for fractures.

Our expert rheumatologists at the Rheumatology Center of New Jersey recommend regular bone scans if you:

A DXA scan is a noninvasive X-ray that lets us see inside your bones to determine if you have osteoporosis or osteopenia. Osteoporosis is a significant loss of bone mass, while osteopenia is a smaller loss of bone mass, but is a precursor to osteoporosis.

The results help us decide on a treatment plan to ensure that your bones regain or maintain strength.

Preparing for your bone scan

Bone densitometry scans are fast and easy. Nevertheless, you should prepare yourself ahead of time so you know what to expect and what you should do the day of your scan. 

Skip your calcium supplement

Don’t take a calcium supplement within 24 hours of your bone scan. The calcium in the supplement could throw off your results. Also, wait at least seven days after undergoing any procedure that requires the injection of contrast dye. The dye could interfere with your reading.

Leave jewelry and zippers at home

Just as you need to remove metal jewelry, belts, and other metal objects before going through the scanner at an airport, you must remove any jewelry or metal that’s on your torso, hips, arms, and legs. 

To avoid losing something precious, just leave it at home. And try to wear clothing that doesn’t have any metal zippers, snaps, or buttons.

Wear loose clothing

You must climb onto the examination table and lie on your back during your bone scan. Wear loose, comfortable clothing so you can move freely and feel at ease.

Know your risk going in

Some risk factors for osteoporosis and osteopenia are beyond your control. You may wish to prepare yourself mentally if you’re at high risk for bones that are less dense than optimal. Risk factors include:

Lifestyle factors, such as a diet that’s low in calcium and other minerals, and a lack of weight-bearing activity may also raise your risk for bone loss. Some medical conditions affect your bone density, too.

Understanding your results

You don’t get your bone scan results directly after your test, but within a week or so, we call you to discuss your results.  

You get two numbers: a T-score, which is a comparison your bones with that of healthy, young bones, and a Z-score, which compares your bones to other people your own age, sex, and ethnicity.

If your Z-score is lower than expected, we may order further tests to determine if you have an underlying medical condition that’s contributing to your bone loss. 

Once you know your T-score and Z-score, we discuss your options with you. If your bones are normal, we recommend you continue eating healthy, calcium-rich foods, and getting plenty of weight-bearing exercise. 

If you have osteopenia or osteoporosis, we may recommend lifestyle changes and medications to increase your bone density.

Find out how your bones are faring by scheduling a bone densitometry today. Contact us at the office nearest you — in Somerville, Flemington, or Monroe, New Jersey.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Is This What's Causing Your Inflammation?

You’ve been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition that’s left you with inflammation throughout your body. Although the actual causes of autoimmune diseases are often unknown, we do know what triggers — and subdues — inflammation.

Reduce Your Risk of Fractures with Prolia

If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis, you may wonder how to increase your bone density and reduce your risk of fractures. If you take calcium and vitamin D and exercise every day, is that enough? Or is there something else you can do?

5 Things That Put You at Risk for Lupus

Whether lupus runs in your family or you know somebody who has it, you may wonder, “Am I next?” Although nobody knows exactly what causes lupus, certain factors put you at increased risk for developing this autoimmune disease.

What to Expect During Your Bone Scan

If you’re ready for your first bone scan, you may wonder what’s involved. Will it hurt? Does it take a long time? Do you have to prepare ahead of time? A bone scan is an essential part of keeping tabs on your health as you age. Here’s what to expect.

The Link Between Sun Sensitivity and Lupus

If you have lupus, chances are you’re extra sensitive to the damaging effects of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. While everyone should limit their UVA and UVB exposure to minimize skin cancer risk, when you have lupus, the stakes are even higher.

Is Arthritis Hereditary?

You love family gatherings for the good food, good vibes, and all the memories you share and make. But you’ve noticed something: A lot of your older relatives have arthritis. Their gnarled fingers and hobbling gaits worry you. Are you next?