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Scans test density of bones.

GETTING A BONE SCAN: If you believe you are at high risk of osteopenia, ask your doctor for a scan. Whether you'll get one on the NHS depends on how many bone scanning machines are in your area. You may choose to pay for a private test, costing between pounds 40 and pounds 120.

HOW IT'S DONE: A Dexa machine measures bone density of your entire skeleton. This is used by the NHS. An ultrasound machine looks at one part of your body such as your heel bone. Results: these are worked out as deviations from the bone mass of an average, healthy 35-year-old woman.

-1 - this is normal.

-1.1 to -2.5 - means osteopenia.

more than -2.5 is osteoporosis. (My score was -1.7).

GETTING A BONE METABOLISM TEST: If a bone scan has shown you've got low bone density, a bone metabolism test can tell you if you are currently breaking down bone or if it happened in the past. The test, which costs around pounds 30, will also show whether you respond to treatment. These are available as home tests but they should be done in conjunction with a bone scan.

HOW IT'S DONE: Your urine is tested for a chemical called Dpd. High levels mean you're currently breaking down bone quickly. Normal Dpd range is 3-7.4 (My Dpd was at 7.6. This dropped to 7.5 after following the plan. I'm not quite in the normal range, but I'm on the right track.)

CAPTION(S):

SCANNING: The osteoporosis test
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Title Annotation:M Health
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 9, 2003
Words:257
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