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Thursday, January 29, 2009 Joe Skowron, Community Member, asks

Q: Please explain typical T and Z score results and what they mean.

I am 72 years of age, male and have been told my T-score for my Hip is 1.21 and my T-score for my Spine is -1.13. What is my Z-Score? What do these values mean?

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Answers (2)
Pam Flores, Health Guide
1/29/09 6:57pm

Hi Joe:  Great question...  Here's an explanation of t and z-scores from the World Health Organization:


Normal bone density: Any score better than -1.0

Osteopenia:  Any score between -1.0 and -2.5

Osteoporosis:  Any score equal to or less than -2.5  World Health Org Link on T and Z scores.


More on T and Z scores.


T-score: The number of standard deviations (SD)

above (a positive value) or below (a negative value) the

average value in young adults.

Z-score: The number of standard deviations from

the average value in a person of same age

and gender.


According to the WHO, the criterion for men has not been so clearly

stated. Expert opinion suggests that a T-score of -2.5 is an appropriate diagnostic cut-off for men, too, for a diagnosis of osteoporosis.


If you look at you dxa print out, it should tell you what your z-score is. To verify this, ask your Dr. if your z-score is significant for your age and what it is, if you can't find it on the print out.  If you don't have the print out, ask for a copy.  It's important for us as patients to know our scores, and that's why giving these records to patients is important.


Good luck and I hope this helps...

Pam Flores, Health Guide
1/30/09 10:09pm

Hi Joe:  I'm sure you already know this, but if not, click on the blue text, in the other answer to get a volumious explanation on T and Z scores from the Univ of WA--Bone Physiology Course, from Dr.Susan Ott council of the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research.  The explanation's are really easy to understand and give a good overview on your various questions.  If you scroll to the bottom of either link, click the home page and it will take you to the beginning of a very long but, worth-the-time-to-read the Univ course on Osteoporosis.  Just about any question you could have can be answered at this link, with the "search" button.


Good luck to you, and your scores are great!  That doesn't mean you don't have plenty of things to do to prevent further bone loss, but at least your scores are good and hopefully maintainable.


Take Care and continue what ever you're doing to have low (good) osteopenia scores.

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By Joe Skowron, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/23/10, First Published: 01/29/09