When Should I Undergo Screening for Osteoporosis?

Neil Gonter, MD Health Pro
  • My mother fell last week and fractured her wrist. She’s 70 years old, and I’m worried that she has osteoporosis. Should she get a test to find out? I am 35 years old, do I need to worry about osteoporosis now?

    Your mother, and all women aged 65 and older, should have their bones tested. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that testing should be performed on:

    • The aforementioned women, aged 65 and older, regardless of risk factors
    • Younger postmenopausal women with one or more risk factors (other than being white, postmenopausal and female).
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    • Postmenopausal women who present with fractures (to confirm the diagnosis and determine disease severity).
    • It is important for one to be screened early if possible and try to decrease one's risk of fracturing before it occurs. However, even after the first fracture, it is not too late. This is because a fracture is a strong risk factor for having another fracture.

    If you are a female, have normal menstrual cycles, no fractures, or major risk factors for osteoporosis (even if your bones are thin on bone density evaluation), your risk of fracture is generally not much more then the rest of the population your own age. This is why we usually don’t recommend checking DXA’s on premenopausal females.

    It is still important to maintain adequate calcium (1,200 mg) intake, exercise and maintain good health to maximize your mineralization.

    When your menstrual cycles stop, no matter what age you are, your risk will increase, somewhat based upon your current bone mineralization.

    Important: We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q&A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor. See full Disclaimer.
Published On: September 13, 2006