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When to Be Checked For Osteoporosis

Know when to have a bone density test to check for osteoporosis


Updated October 04, 2011

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes weakening of your bones, and can increase your chance of sustaining a fractured bone. The progression of osteoporosis can often be slowed, but only when you check for the problem and initiate treatment. Here are some signs that you should be screened for osteoporosis.

Women Age 65 and Older

All women age 65 and older should consider having a bone density test. Just being a woman over the age of 65 places you in a category of individuals most likely to develop osteoporosis. Knowing your bone density before any problems arise can help you treat your condition, and hopefully avoid fractures.

Younger Postmenopausal Women

Women under the age of 65 who are postmenopausal should have a bone density test if they also have additional risk factors for developing osteoporosis (in addition to being postmenopausal and female). These risk factors for developing osteoporosis include family history of osteoporosis, sedentary lifestyle, certain medications, cigarette smoking, and others. You should discuss your risks for developing osteoporosis with your doctor.

Postmenopausal Women With a Fracture

This group of patients is especially important, and the target of a new initiative from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Many people do not know they have osteoporosis until they sustain a broken bone. These people are at the highest risk for problems down the road, and should have appropriate evaluation and intervention to attempt to prevent the progression of osteoporosis. If you are a postmenopausal woman and have broken a bone, you should ask your doctor if you need a bone density test.

Men At Risk for Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis can occur in men, just not as frequently as women. That said, men over the age of 65 should consider having a bone density test if they have risks for developing the condition. The reason osteoporosis is less common in men is due to the hormone testosterone, a powerful stimulant for the formation of new bone.


"Bone Density Tests" National Osteoporosis Foundation © 2008.

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