A bone density scan or a DEXA scan is a special type of
X-ray that is used to diagnose
osteoporosis. It's quick, painless and
you may be eligible for a rebate.
Make an appointment and ask your doctor about a bone density scan.
Make an appointment with your doctor, either in-person or by telehealth.
If your doctor thinks you're at risk, ask them to organise a DEXA scan to measure your bone density.
A standard X-ray may suffice if you’ve suffered a recent break.
What will my doctor ask me?
Making an appointment with your doctor is the first step towards taking control of your bone health. At the appointment your doctor will most likely talk to you about:
History of falls and broken bones
Your doctor will ask if you have broken any bones as a result of a fall from a standing height or less. People who have had one minimal trauma fracture are twice more likely to break another bone within the next 12 months.1
If you have any siblings or parents who have or had osteoporosis.
It is important that your doctor knows if you take corticosteroids (for asthma or rheumatoid arthritis), or certain other medications, which treat breast cancer or prostate cancer.1
Medical history including chronic conditions
Certain conditions can impact your likelihood of having osteoporosis – low sex hormone levels, early menopause, thyroid conditions, coeliac disease, kidney or liver disease.1
Diet (calcium intake), vitamin D, exercise, smoking, alcohol.
Remember, your doctor wants you to be as healthy as possible so please don’t hesitate to bring up your concerns about osteoporosis.
If your doctor thinks you are at risk, then you can have a simple test that measures your bone density. This test is called a DEXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) scan. The result of the scan is called a T-score, which helps to diagnose osteoporosis.
DEXA scans are:
- Subsidised by a Medicare rebate, if you are eligible.
You may be eligible for a DEXA bone density scan. Ask your doctor or your imaging service provider
If you have broken a bone from a minor fall from standing height, this could be diagnosed with a typical X-ray.
What if I have osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is serious but it is treatable. Management of osteoporosis involves simple lifestyle changes and your doctor may recommend starting a prescription medication.1
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- Osteoporosis Australia. What you need to know about osteoporosis. Consumer guide. 2017. https://hnc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Osteoporosis-Aust-Consumer-Guide-4th-Edition.pdf. [Accessed 1 February 2023]