DEAR DOCTOR K: I just turned 65. At my last medical visit, my doctor said she'd like me to get a bone density test. What is it, and what's involved?
DEAR READER: A bone density test uses specialized X-rays to measure the thickness and strength of your bones. It is also called bone densitometry or a DXA scan. Why measure the thickness of your bones? Adults, particularly women, begin to lose bone thickness around age 50. Thinner bones put you at greater risk for fracture. Besides being painful at the time, fractures (particularly hip fractures) can affect your ability to do the things you want to do.