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Bones Test Without a Radiation
Alternative Test for Your Bone Mineral
you seeking an alternative test to DEXA scan results for bone mineral density testing? You're not alone. Even
though the medical community considers the DEXA (bone mineral density) test to be the gold standard in diagnosing
bone loss, there are reasons to use other tests.
For example, the DEXA test creates exposure to ionizing radiation, and even though
it's reported to be a low dose, many people are uncomfortable with being exposed to any more radiation than they
absolutely have to be.
And then, there's the uncertainty about what the DEXA scan results actually mean. One
example is concern about inaccuracies: if a different machine was used than previously, scores can be higher or
lower, not due to the actual density of bones, but due to the equipment that measured them.
Also, there's the T score Z score issue. Many people question the validity of
comparing an older woman's bone density score to the average bone density of a 35 year old woman, which is what the
T score evaluates. Better, they say, to use the Z score, which compares bone density of the patient with that of
others her own age. After all, you woudn't expect to compare the keeness of a 65 year old's vision with that of a
35 year old - some decline is expected with age and is not in that case cause for aggressive treatment with
These and other reasons are why many people want a different test. Do such things
The short answer is, 'yes', some other tests do exist. That said, it's important to
know that these other tests are going to give a different answer than a DEXA answers because each of these tests
asks a different question.
A question answered by DEXA scan results is "how dense are my bones?" A DEXA scan can
also address, "Does it appear that I'm gaining or losing bone?"
Two alternative tests answer a different question, which is "Does it appear that I am
I breaking down bone right now, and if so, how much?"
To answer that question, by-products of bone breakdown can be measured in the urine.
These tests have several advantages: they have the possibility of uncovering a bone loss process in its earlier
stages; they carry no risk of exposure to x-rays or photons; and they are far less expensive than DPA or
Before interpreting the results, however, you should know that measurements can vary
by up to 40 or even 50% from one day to the next - not because the tests are inaccurate, but because bone loss
rates can vary that much from day to day, and even hour to hour!
One such test measures the level of calcium excretion in the urine. However, if the
test shows a higher rate of calcium excretion, that still doesn't mean the calcium is being taken from the bone.
For example, the body could be dumping calcium due to high protein intake where the body is attempting to get rid
of some calcium to balance phosphorus ratios, and the high score has nothing to do with bone loss at
Also, a great deal depends on when in the course of the bone breakdown process the
tests are taken: urinary calcium is increased in the initial phases of bone depletion, normal later, and low when
the bone bank calcium deposits are drained.
Another urine test measures pryidinium crosslinks, which are metabolic products that
show up in the urine when bone type I collagen is being broken down. Again, this is a test that takes a 'snapshot'
of the bone loss process at the moment the test is taken.
Normal laboratory values for these test people are still being determined to discover
normal levels for people of different ages.
Therefore, interpreting these results remains a matter of opinion.
Still, for a variety of reasons, such alternative test results can be valuable in
attempting to discover status of the mineral density of your bones - and doing so without a radiation
Pamela Levin, R.N.
June 17, 2011
Source: http://emotionalnutrients.com/Bones-Test-Without-a-Radiation-Dose.html ↑
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Tags: bones test DEXA scan results t score bone mineral density t score z score mineral density alternative test z score