Question: What is a T-score?

Answer: A T-score compares an adult’s results with the mean peak bone mass (thickness of bones) of a large number of normal females and males between the ages of 20-40.

Question: What is a Z score result?

Answer: A Z score compares the patient’s score with their own age group: this is usually used in the diagnosis of the spine in children and adolescents. Their bone age should also be compared to their chronological age by taking an x-ray of the bones of their non-dominant hand.

Question: Can you explain the T-score reading?

Answer: The IOS has broken up the scores in the osteopenia range to make it easier for people to know exactly where they are on the scale.

  • Mild Osteopenia T-score = -1 to -1.49
  • Moderate Osteopenia T-score = -1.5 to -1.9
  • Marked Osteopenia T-score = -2 to -2.49
  • Osteoporosis T-score = Greater than -2.5
  • Severe Osteoporosis T- score = -3 and higher. (-4.5, -5.3)

A fragility fracture (broken bone from a trip and fall from a standing position or less) is also considered to be Osteoporosis unless proven otherwise.

Research shows that most fractures (broken bones) occur within a T score of -1.5 to -2.49 which is the moderate to marked Osteopenia range.

If a person has developed a hump on the back, an LVA (Lateral Vertebral Assessment) of the thoracic spine (the area where the hump is located) is usually recommended if available. If not available, a lateral x-ray of the spine is advised. This will show if the shape of the bones in this area are compressed due to an Osteoporosis fracture.

NOTE: Many people have arthritis and Osteophytes (extra bony spurs) which may have developed on the lumbar spine, which can give a false higher bone density reading. This would make your bones appear healthier than they are.

A DXA scan usually only measures your lumbar spine (lower back = L1, L2, L3 and L4) and your hips, neck of femur and greater trochanter. The upper back (LVA) is usually not done unless specifically requested on the referral form.

Would you like a basic explanation of your DXA scan results?

The Irish Osteoporosis Society is offering a new service.

You can contact us to book a 30 minute appointment on (01) 637 5050.

You will need to fill in our risk factor questionnaire which we will send to you once you contact us.

You will need to get a (preferably colour) copy of your entire DXA report, which should be 3 to 4 pages with graphs and images and individual T scores for L1, L2, L3, L4 and both areas of both hips included.

Please ensure that you are not given a radiologist report which usually only consists of one page.

The doctor who referred you for your DXA scan report should have a copy, if not, they can request one form the clinic/hospital you went to.

The cost of the service is free for Irish Osteoporosis Society members and €80 for a non-member.

All funds will go towards the Charities’ day to day services.