If you are at high risk of osteoporosis your doctor may refer you for a bone density test.
A bone density test can help diagnose osteoporosis. It is a short, painless scan that measures the density (strength) of your bones, usually at the hip and spine. One of the results from this test is called a 'T-score'. It measures your bone mineral density (BMD) and compares it to the bone density of a healthy young adult..
A T-score of:
- above -1 is normal
- between -1 and -2.5 is classed as 'osteopenia' (where bone density is lower than average but not low enough to be classed as 'osteoporosis')
- below -2.5 is classed as 'osteoporosis'.
A bone density test can help diagnose osteoporosis, but your BMD result is not the only factor that determines your risk of fracturing a bone.
Your doctor will also consider your age, sex and any previous fractures before deciding whether you need treatment for osteoporosis.
Last reviewed: September 2017