What Do Tscores Of -3.6 And -4.2 Actually Mean?

Question

Asked by Karen

What Do Tscores Of -3.6 And -4.2 Actually Mean?

My 87 year old mother has received Tscores of -3.6 in the femur and -4.2 in the lumbar. Obviously, she has osteoporosis, but what do these scores actually mean to her everyday life and possible risks? She is afraid to move around much for fear of her bones just "crumbling to pieces". She has started Forteo injections and will take them daily for 18 months.

Thanks,

Karen

Answer

Hi Karen, welcome! Your mom's lowest score would be her main score; so that's -4.2. Here are the World Health Organizations definitions on bone loss.

Normal Bone: Any score better than (above) -1.0

Osteopenia (low bone density not a disease): Any score between -1.0 and -2.5

Osteoporosis: Any score below -2.5

Established Osteoporosis: Scores below -2.5 with fractures

Your mother's score is low, so she has a score almost 2 standard deviation points below the osteoporosis mark.

Has she had any fractures? If so, then she needs to be careful. Her bones will not just crumble, but she is more likely to fracture with these scores than someone with a score in the osteopenia range.

If she institutes some safety measures, and safe movements hopefully she can avoid a hip/spine fracture. If she has had one already the odds of another go up.

Here's some things you can read/print for her from the National Osteoporosis Foundation 2012.

Safe movements

Protecting the Spine from Kyphosis (rounding forward of the spine from posture/fraxs)

Exercise examples

Functional Aspects of Bone Loss

Exercise for Healthy Bones

Vitamin D Requirements

Calcium Recommendations

Calculating Calcium from your Diet

I know I gave you a lot to read and pass on to your mom, but this is very important and I hope all this helps her in some way. Keep up the good work advocating and helping her; you are a terrific daughter!

Answered by Pam Flores