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Bone Density

Also called: Bone mass

Summary

Strong bones are important for your health. A bone mineral density (BMD) test is the best way to measure your bone health. It compares your bone density, or mass, to that of a healthy person who is the same age and sex as you are. It can show

  • Whether you have osteoporosis, a disease that makes your bones weak
  • Your risk for breaking bones
  • Whether your osteoporosis treatment is working

Low bone mass that is not low enough to be osteoporosis is sometimes called osteopenia. Causes of low bone mass include family history, not developing good bone mass when you are young, and certain conditions or medicines. Not everyone who has low bone mass gets osteoporosis, but they are at higher risk for getting it.

If you have low bone mass, there are things you can do to help slow down bone loss. These include eating foods rich in calcium and vitamin D and doing weight-bearing exercise such as walking, tennis, or dancing. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medicines to prevent osteoporosis.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Start Here

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases) Also in
  • (National Osteoporosis Foundation)
  • (National Osteoporosis Foundation)
  • (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in

Diagnosis and Tests

  • (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) Also in
  • (UpToDate)
  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • (ABIM Foundation)

Prevention and Risk Factors

  • (U.S. Preventive Services Task Force) - PDF

Related Issues

  • (Consumers Union of U.S.) - PDF
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases) Also in
  • (Hormone Health Network) - PDF

Specifics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (AIDSinfo) Also in

Genetics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)

Statistics and Research

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Find an Expert

  • From the National Institutes of Health Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)

Children

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Also in

Women

  • (Hormone Health Network)
  • (Hormone Health Network) - PDF Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)

Patient Handouts

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