Increased bone density

Patient

Q: What does it mean when you have increased bone density? I had an xray and was told they saw increased bone density. I thought that having more density was good. I was told this on a friday and now I'm nervous and can't find anything online.

Doctor

A:   Currently, there is no agreed-upon standard intervention threshold for BMD (bone mineral density). A universally accepted threshold depends not only on the interpretation of individual results but also on agreement among manufacturers to use a single normal range depending on the machine used to measure bone density. The WHO has made some progress by defining osteoporosis with BMD measurements. According to WHO definitions, women with bone mineral content or BMD more than 2.5 SDs below the mean for healthy young white women are osteoporotic. Though simple, this definition has several limitations: It does not account for age, and it cannot be applied to men. Furthermore, this measurement is not universally applicable among various techniques of measuring bone mass. Most likely in your case we have to consider your age, your calcium intake daily, if your are active or not, and if the increased bone density is no more than 2SD above the mean, this might be a finding with low or no clinical significance.

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