A normal X-ray and measurement of bone mineral density helps in diagnosis. A routine X-ray can help in detecting osteopenia. But the detection of osteoporosis is possible only when 30% of bone is lost.
DXA Or DEXA
Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry is one of the popular methods of measuring bone mineral density which in turn helps in diagnosing. It is the most preferred method and is considered as standard for osteoporosis diagnosis. This method is also known as DXA or DEXA. It is easy to perform and takes only about 15 minutes or so.
DXA is a scanner which produces two X-ray beams each differing in energy level. Bone mineral density can be determined from the amount of X-rays absorbed from each beam. The determined BMD is compared with the average peak BMD of young adults of same sex and race. The comparison gives the number of deviations from the peak BMD of young adults. This is known as the T score.
It is normal if the T score is equal or greater than -1.0. When the T score is between -1.0 and -2.5, it indicates osteopenia and with T score less than -2.5 indicates osteoporosis.