Aging & Health A to Z
Diagnosis & Tests
X-rays are usually used to confirm if a bone is broken and, to find the locations of any loose bony pieces. Other diseases of the bone can also show up on an x-ray, such as osteoporosis, Paget’s disease, or compression fractures in the spine.
Bone densitometry is another type of low-dose x-ray that tells your healthcare professional if you have osteoporosis or thinning of the bones. It is also known as a bone mineral density test (BMD). It is widely used and will likely be one of the first tests your healthcare professional will order for you. BMD (usually of the hip, spine, wrist or heel bone) is a strong predictor of a future fracture.
Your healthcare professional may also order blood tests such as:
- kidney function tests
- estrogen, testosterone, thyroid, and other hormone levels
- calcium levels
- vitamin D levels
- other blood tests to check for certain deseases, such as celiac disease or Paget’s disease or multiple myeloma, if any of these disorders is suspected
- if you need surgery to repair your fracture, additional blood tests and X-rays may also be ordered.
If the x-ray did not show a fracture but your healthcare provider is still suspicious of one, you may be asked to undergo other tests and imaging scans such as:
- magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- computed tomography (CT) scan.
Updated: March 2012
Posted: March 2012