How you prepare

Bone density tests are easy, fast and painless. Virtually no preparation is needed. In fact, some simple versions of bone density tests can be done at your local pharmacy or drugstore.

If you're having the test done at a medical center or hospital, be sure to tell your doctor beforehand if you've recently had a barium exam or had contrast material injected for a CT scan or nuclear medicine test. Contrast materials might interfere with your bone density test.

Food and medications

Avoid taking calcium supplements for at least 24 hours before your bone density test.

Clothing and personal items

Wear loose, comfortable clothing and avoid wearing clothes with zippers, belts or buttons. Remove all metal objects from your pockets, such as keys, money clips or change.