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Bone Mineral Density (BMD) Check and its medical relevance

Article by Dr Manasa S, B.A.M.S

Bone mineral density check is completed to judge the well being of the bones. It measures how a lot calcium and different minerals are current within the bones. Healthcare suppliers use this check to find out the danger of fracture of bones. Bone formation and destruction is a steady course of via out the life. Because the age progresses, the speed of destruction could also be larger than price of formation of bone tissues. This tends to lower the density of bones and makes the bones porous, brittle and weak resulting in osteoporosis.

Allow us to first perceive the fundamental construction and performance of the conventional bone tissue.

Temporary data about bone tissue

Bone tissue serves a twin position within the physique, providing each structural assist and facilitating motion. Past offering a bodily framework, bones contribute to locomotion by serving as attachment factors for muscle tissues, tendons, and ligaments. These important features lengthen to defending very important organs, supporting respiratory, aiding in homeostasis, and housing marrow cells essential for survival. Notably, bone tissue possesses the outstanding potential to regenerate, returning to a completely purposeful state post-injury.

Functionally, bone is a metabolically lively connective tissue, comprised of an extracellular matrix and specialised cells referred to as osteocytes. Beneath optimum situations, the mineralization course of happens, ensuing within the hardening of bone via deposited calcium. This hardness is integral to the assorted tasks the bones play within the physique.

Within the grownup human physique, there are 206 bones, a quantity that decreases from roughly 270 at start. This discount is as a result of fusion of sure bones throughout phases of skeletal progress and maturation. All through life, bones endure fixed remodelling, with the vast majority of the grownup skeleton being changed roughly each 10 years.

Bone cells

Bone cells represent about 10% of the full quantity of bone. Bones should not static tissue and so they should be maintained and remodelled to maintain itself wholesome and robust. There are three essential cells that are concerned within the technique of progress, restore and breakdown of previous bone tissues, particularly the osteoblasts, the osteocytes and osteoclasts. Osteoblasts and osteoclasts are integral cells within the human physique chargeable for selling bone progress and facilitating the remodelling course of to take care of bone energy. Whereas the widespread notion is that bone progress happens primarily in kids and youngsters, the roles of osteoblasts and osteoclasts lengthen to supporting bone well being even after reaching maturity. These cells collaborate in forming new bone cells and breaking down previous or broken bone tissue.


Bone marrow stem cells differentiate into osteoblasts. Osteoid is a protein combination produced by osteoblasts which will get mineralised to kind bones. Osteoblasts are much like building crews, contributing to bone formation, remodelling, and therapeutic of broken or damaged bones. Osteoblasts provoke their features in response to chemical reactions or hormonal alerts related to bone progress or modifications. They launch a mixture of proteins referred to as bone matrix, consisting of collagen, calcium, phosphate, and different minerals. After the activation, the osteoblasts transfer into place after which deposit bone matrix in areas on a bone that should develop or to be strengthened and even repaired. This matrix solidifies and transforms into new, wholesome bone, analogous to a building employee laying down concrete for a brand new sidewalk or repairing present paths. After finishing their position in bone tissue formation, osteoblasts can both rework into osteocytes or endure programmed cell dying.


Osteocytes, performing as a bone safety system, monitor modifications in stress and stress inside bones and they’re chargeable for sending messages to osteoclasts and osteoblasts to restore the damaged or broken bone tissue. They reply to numerous stimuli, starting from regular motion to intense occasions like accidents, by signalling osteoclasts to dissolve broken tissue and osteoblasts to deposit new bone tissue for therapeutic.


Osteoclasts are giant cells with multiple nucleus. Osteoclasts operate as a demolition crew, dissolving and breaking down previous or broken bone cells by a course of referred to as as resorption. They create house for osteoblasts to generate new bone tissue in areas requiring progress or restore. The managed and particular nature of osteoclast exercise ensures the focused breakdown of previous tissue, triggered by alerts from osteocytes.

Features of bone tissue

Mechanical Features:

1. Construction:

   – Bones present the framework for the physique.

   – With out bones, the physique would lack a structural basis.

2. Safety:

   – Bones play an important position in defending delicate organs like the guts and mind.

   – The cranium, as an illustration, gives safety to the mind.

3. Motion:

   – Collaboration of bones with joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscle tissues permits physique motion.

4. Sound Transduction:

   – Bones conduct vibrations, contributing to the sense of listening to.

   – Necessary for the auditory operate.

Metabolic Features of bone:

1. Mineral Storage:  

– Bone matrix shops minerals, together with calcium, phosphorus, and iron (ferritin).

2. Chondroitin Sulfate:

   – Matrices include chondroitin sulfate, a carbohydrate ingredient.

3. Development Elements:

   – Particular progress components like insulin-like progress issue (IGF-1) are saved in bones.

   – Launched periodically to assist progress.

4. pH Regulation:

   – Bones contribute to pH steadiness by modifying alkaline salt composition within the serum.

5. Detoxing:

   – Osteocytes in bones can engulf poisonous molecules and heavy metals for detoxing.

6. Fats Storage:

   – Bones function storage for fat, including to their metabolic performance.

Bone remodelling course of

Bone remodelling is a dynamic and steady course of that happens all through a person’s lifespan, difficult the standard notion of bones as inert buildings throughout the human physique. This intricate course of is essential for sustaining the structural integrity of the skeletal system and contributing to the metabolic steadiness of calcium and phosphorus throughout the physique. Remodelling helps within the resorption of the previous or broken bone, and adopted by the deposition of recent bone materials.

 The frontliners on this technique of remodelling are two major cell sorts: osteoclasts and osteoblasts, with osteocytes additionally enjoying a big position. Osteoclasts are chargeable for resorbing previous or broken bone, whereas osteoblasts contribute to bone progress by depositing new collagen and minerals. Osteocytes, essentially the most ample cell sort in mature bone, act as conductors, transmitting alerts concerning bone stress and regulating fluid circulate throughout the bone.

The bone remodelling cycle initiates early in foetal life, coordinated by the interplay between osteoblasts and osteoclasts. This leads to the formation of multinucleated osteoclastic cells, which connect to bone surfaces and start the resorption course of, leaving attribute “scooped out” areas of the bone matrix referred to as Howship lacunae. Subsequently, osteoblasts fill these lacunae with new collagen and minerals. Osteoblasts, of their differentiated state, might then turn into bone-lining cells, osteocytes, or endure cell dying [apoptosis].

The elemental operate of bone remodelling extends past mere adaptation to mechanical loading; it additionally serves to restore microdamage throughout the bone matrix, stopping the buildup of previous bone. Moreover, bone remodelling performs a pivotal position in sustaining plasma calcium homeostasis.

Hormones intricately regulate the bone remodelling course of, with notable influences together with parathyroid hormone (PTH), oestrogen, calcitonin, progress hormone (GH), glucocorticoids, and thyroid hormones. PTH, for instance, raises blood calcium ranges by affecting osteoclast exercise, whereas oestrogen deficiency results in elevated bone remodelling. Calcitonin inhibits bone resorption in response to elevated calcium ranges, and GH stimulates each bone formation and resorption via insulin-like progress components. Glucocorticoids, then again, lower bone formation and favour osteoclast survival. Thyroid hormones affect bone turnover, with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism affecting osteoblastic and osteoclastic exercise.

Medical Significance of bone tissue

Bone tissue is inclined to a myriad of pathologies with origins starting from embryological, metabolic, autoimmune, neoplastic, to idiopathic. The situations mentioned beneath characterize a few of these various bone-related points.

Achondroplasia, a genetic dysfunction related to dwarfism, leads to people presenting with quick extremities on account of lowered improvement of endochondral bone.

Paget illness of the bone is characterised by an imbalance within the actions of osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Whereas its aetiology stays unknown, this situation predominantly impacts localized parts of the skeletal tissue, usually involving a number of neighbouring bones somewhat than all the skeletal system. Left untreated, Paget illness of the bone can act as a threat issue for osteosarcoma, a malignant proliferation of osteoblasts.

Skeletal neoplasms originate within the metaphysis of lengthy bones. Sufferers might expertise bone ache, swelling, or pathologic fractures, that are breaks brought on by bone weak spot on account of illness somewhat than trauma. This phenomenon is extra prevalent in youngsters in comparison with the aged.

Bone fractures are a typical prevalence, with osteoporosis being a dysfunction of bone remodelling characterised by low bone mass and structural deterioration. This situation results in elevated bone fragility and susceptibility to fractures.

Osteoarthritis, osteomalacia, rickets, and epiphyseal plate problems are further pathologies that have an effect on bone well being.

Why is BMD check carried out?

Understanding the well being of the bone is crucial for efficient remedy, and administration of sufferers with bone problems. Healthcare professionals carry out BMD check to grasp the next –

Consider the danger of bone fractures

Diagnose osteoporosis

Perceive concerning the progress of osteoporosis remedy.

Different names for BMD check

  • Bone density check
  • Bone densitometry
  • DEXA scan
  • DXA
  • Twin-energy x-ray absorptiometry
  • p-DEXA
  • Osteoporosis-BMD
  • Twin x-ray absorptiometry

Who ought to go for BMD check?

Males or individuals assigned male at start who’re older than 70 years.

Ladies or individuals assigned feminine at start who’re older than 65 years.

Folks youthful than 65 years with a better threat of bone fractures.

Healthcare employees recommendation BMD check in the event that they discover any of the next:

  • Previous historical past of fracture after the age of fifty
  • Historical past of remedy for prostate most cancers or breast most cancers
  • Important drop in hormone ranges
  • On sure medicines comparable to steroids for lengthy period of time
  • Noticed 1.5 inches [3.8 centimeters] discount within the top.
  • Low physique weight or low physique mass index

What are the explanations for prime threat of bone fractures?

  • Untimely and early menopause
  • Robust household historical past of osteoporosis
  • Sure kidney problems
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Consuming problems that results in low physique weight
  • Sedentary life model
  • Smoking or extreme consumption of alcohol

Who should not eligible for BMD check?

Pregnant ladies or considered pregnant

Individuals who had a barium enema

Not too long ago administered distinction injection for a CT scan

Process of BMD check

The best way to put together for BMD check?

No massive preparation is required for BMD check as it’s straightforward, easy and quick

Healthcare skilled ought to be knowledgeable beforehand about current barium examination or about distinction materials injection for a CT scan or nuclear drugs check

Calcium dietary supplements ought to be stopped at the very least 24 hours earlier than the check

Free and comfy clothes ought to be opted

Carrying garments with zipper, belts or buttons ought to be averted

No jewelry ought to be worn or any metallic objects ought to be saved in pockets

Ought to be cooperative to put on examination robe if that’s the protocol of the well being care centre

How is the check carried out?

BMD check is completed through the use of x-rays to measure the quantity of calcium and different minerals within the bones. The commonest and correct method to assess bone density known as as dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, popularly referred to as DEXA scan. It’s normally carried out in radiology centre. There are two kinds of DEXA scan. They’re as below –

  • Central DEXA scan – Central scan appears at density of backbone and hip bones
  • Peripheral DEXA scan – This measures density at wrist, finger, and heal.

Central DEXA scan

Individual is made to lie on a padded desk with legs straight, resting the legs on a padded platform

 A technician retains an x-ray machine beneath the individual and one other system referred to as as detector is positioned above.

The technician goes to x-ray room to activate x-rays

The detector slowly passes over the backbone and hips and takes the photographs. Technician might ask the individual to maneuver the legs or ft in several instructions to get photos from numerous areas. An individual may need to carry the breath for few seconds to stop motion that might result in blurred photos.

Usually, it takes 10 to half-hour to go across the check.

The pictures from each the machines combinedly are despatched to laptop.

Photographs are considered by the healthcare skilled and check outcomes are analysed.

Peripheral DEXA scan

Peripheral DEXA scan is used to measure the bone density in forearm, fingers, hand, or foot. Right here the healthcare supplier makes use of a conveyable scanner for density evaluation.

Understanding of the outcomes of Bone Density Evaluation

Bone density check outcomes are offered via two key metrics: T-score and Z-score.


The T-score is a measure of bone density relative to the anticipated norm for a wholesome younger grownup of that individual gender. It quantifies the variety of models, referred to as normal deviations, by which bone density deviates from the typical.

– T-score between -1 and above:  It’s understood as bone density throughout the regular vary.

  – T-score between -1 and -2.5: This means osteopenia, signifying that bone density is beneath regular and should pose a threat for osteoporosis.

– T-score of -2.5 and beneath:  This rating of bone density suggests a probability of osteoporosis.


The Z-score measures the usual deviations by which your bone density differs from what is anticipated for somebody of your age, gender, weight, and ethnic or racial background. In case your Z-score considerably deviates from the typical, additional exams could also be essential to pinpoint the underlying reason behind the problem.

These scores collectively present a complete overview of bone well being, aiding within the identification of potential issues and guiding acceptable follow-up measures.

Ayurveda and Diminished BMD

Ayurveda has superb medicines and treatments for these having lowered BMD or in whom osteopenia has already set in. Therapies like Tikta Ksheera Basti, illness modifying natural formulations, meals and way of life modifications in order to manage the aggravated vata and strengthen the bones and joints won’t solely assist in easing the signs but additionally will arrest the development of the illness. Ayurveda medicines and coverings may even present good aid in signs associated to osteoporosis.

Associated Studying – Low Bone Density / Osteopenia

Additionally learn – ‘Ayurveda markers and instruments to judge BMD’



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