What Your Bone Mineral Density T Score Indicates?

A bone mineral density test measures the density of minerals such as calcium in your bones using a special X-ray or computed tomography (CT) scan. This information enables you to estimate the strength of your bones. The T-score of your BMD test indicates how much your bone density is above or below normal. The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined the T-score.

The medical experts use the bone mineral density T-score to diagnose osteoporosis.  In case, more than one bone is tested, they use the lowest T-score to make a diagnosis of osteoporosis. The T score compares your bone density with that of 30-year-old healthy young women. At 30, women reach maximum peak density. Peak bone density is the point at which a person has the highest bone density. It is expressed as a standard deviation (SD). It is the deviation from the young adult mean that enables doctors to estimate the condition of your bones. Almost all 30-year-old people have a BMD value within 2 standard deviations of this mean.
A negative value indicates that you have thinner bones (lower bone density) than an average 30-year-old. The more negative the T-score is the less bone density you have compared to an average 30-year-old.

A positive value indicates that your bones are thicker and stronger than an average 30-year-old.

What your T-score means:

  • If your score is greater than -1, then your bone mineral density is in the normal range
  • If your score is between -1 and -2.5, it indicates the beginning of bone loss (Osteopania).
  • If your score is below -2.5, it indicates osteoporosis
The more negative your T-score, the greater your chances of breaking a bone during a fall or from a minor injury. So you need to take extra care of yourself if your bone mineral density T score is less than -2.5.

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