my first bone density test

judys_ontJanuary 31, 2004

I have to have my first bone density test and mammogram. From anyone who has had a bone density test, what can I expect?

I don't want any more information about the mammagram that will make me any more scared than I am please, but can you tell about the bone density test?


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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

You will never find an easier test than the one I had. I had a Dexa Scan, not an akle one. First you sit by the "bed" and put your arm on the bed. The scan goes over it (above it). Then you lie down. They run the scan a couple of times over you. Once is to measure I think, and the second is to scan. You lie on your back and cannot move at all. Nothing touches you and you are fully clothed. Then you leaave. They say to wear loose fitting clothing, but what they mean is no metal. They never said that to me and had to stop the scan the last time because I had on a bra with an underwire. Do not wear jeans or pants with a zipper. Warm up suits are great.
I hope that when you get the results, you get a copy of the results for yourself. There are many variable, and it helps to have those numbers in hand if you want another opinion.
On mine they actually scanned the arm, lumbar (lower spine) and hips. After the first scan I thought I was great except for the lumbar and hips. My arm really was fine. Then I was told that they only scan your lumbar because usually you whole spine is as the lumbar is.
My test results were Osteopenia (a diagnosis between normal and osteoporosis). If you get the results from a doctor, not through the mail, and if yours are not completely normal, you have to find out what your limitations are. Please don't settle for "you just have to be careful".
Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2004 at 11:48AM
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I've never had one, but my husband used to give the test at his business. Supposedly, it's the easiest test there is.....just like an easy x-ray. Please don't be scared. It's a no brainer. Good luck to you!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2004 at 6:01PM
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I had no idea what it was. I am more scared of the mmgrm.
How long do you have to be still for this. I am not the greatest for laying still for long. Had a brain scan once that lasted for 20 minutes. Nearly drove me crazy not being able to move.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2004 at 6:21PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

It isn't long at all. You lie on the bed and the thing comes over you, but never touches you. It only comes from above, you still are not closed in on the sides. You must be perfectly still while it goes over you, then you sort of relax, but don't move. The technician is looking at a computer screen and may tell you to make a minor adjustment, then they do it again. I have had 3 at the same place, and since they have the past files, they have me lie in exactly the same position so that they can get a good comparison. What was most time consuming was for them to get the computer set up with my past files in it. I'd say that you would like perfectly still for about a minute each time. I had to do it a couple of more times, because the instructions to wear loose fitting clothing in no way instructed me not to wear an underwire bra. So I had to raise that way up, under my clothing. You don't have to undress except for shoes. Then after raising up the bra, they had to do it again. (It's really funny. I wear an underwire bra to keep the bra in place. Other people wear them for support.)
You also shouldn't be afraid of the mammogram. I am 61 and have gotten them for 20 years and have never been hurt. And that includes a few follow up for suspicious mammograms. If I were afraid, I would call and ask for a real pro - explaining to them that I am afraid. It is quick, pretty dignified, and easy.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2004 at 8:23PM
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Thanks Sammy for the encouragement.
Glad to hear that neither test is lengthy. I'm sure this is only first time jitters and I'll be a comfortable yearly regular at these things.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2004 at 10:36AM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

One more thing on the mammogram. As you consider it embarrassing, think of how the technician feels. It is their job to make you feel comfortable, but I think I get positive feedback when I show an interest in them, and try to make them feel more comfortable. As they try to position you, don't allow a pinch. Tell them that it is pinching you, and they will reposition you. There is a way that they can accidentally get some skin from your underarm in the plate. Just mention that we don't quite have it right yet.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2004 at 5:02PM
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It's been my experience that the ladies who have taken all my mammograms have always been so sweet and helpful. It's good to keep a sense of's sort of a really silly test! (very important.......but silly!!) :)
Judy....I don't know if this is happening to you, but I noticed that when I started through perimenopause, I developed so much fear of everything! It pretty much reached panic proportions, even when they were tests and doctor and dentist visits that shouldn't have been scary to me. I was curious if this is happening to you? I have talked to a number of women who seemed to develop intense fears while going through menopause. I was put on a beta blocker for high blood pressure, and it had the side-effect of calming me down alot. But I still avoid doctors and tests!
I think it's great that you are having these tests, even though you are a bit anxious. Good luck and let us know how they go!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2004 at 8:02PM
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I'm not really embarrassed by the mmgrm. It's just that I've heard it is quite painful. I guess it can depend, as some of you say it wasn't for you.
Everyone here has been so helpful in diminishing some of my fears. This is such a great group of people on these forums.
Thanks to all of you. I am going to go to these tests and be okay.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2004 at 12:08PM
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I had heard that they can now do an ultrasound in place of a mammogram. Then if anything suspicious shows up on the ultrasound, they do a mammogram to double check. Have any of you heard this?


    Bookmark   February 20, 2004 at 4:21PM
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No, I've never heard of that. Perhaps it's in our future-near future I hope.
I'll ask about that.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2004 at 9:12AM
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I want to thank you for posting this. My friend has several debilitating muscle and joint diseases and must constantly go to her doctors for check ups and treatment. She's so tired of it. And the other day, the doc said he was going to schedule her for a bone density test and something else. She told him no, absolutely not, she's not undergoing anything else, she's sick of it. They're always poking needles in her and prodding her.

After reading this post, I rushed over to tell her about the bone density test and she has decided to let the doc do it. She's actually thrilled to know how easy it and that it won't be invasive or painful in any way. So thank you!


    Bookmark   February 26, 2004 at 12:56PM
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I agree. Thanks to everyone who has helped to educate us.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2004 at 2:04PM
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I'm going for my first bone density test next month, along with my annual mammogram. I know what to expect from the mammogram, but am a little nervous about the bone density test. Reading all the above posts makes me feel better.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 2:44PM
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What a wonderful resource this is.

As patients, we must ask questions.

Fear of the unknown can be really aweful !


    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 7:04PM
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I'm scared to death about having a bone density test! I don't know if I'm more scared of the test or the results of the test! I am only 37!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 12:21PM
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