How Often Should Women Have Bone Tests? National Institutes of Health NIH


The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force doesn’t recommend routine bone density testing for men. Because men have a higher bone mass and lose bone more slowly than women, they’re at a lower risk of fracture. However, up to 1 in 4 men over 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. Groups such as the National Osteoporosis Foundation still recommend testing for men 70 and older. Men 50–69 also may consider testing if they have risk factors for osteoporosis. Every woman at age 65 should have a bone density test.

So, think of a skyscraper as it goes up with all these girders. As time goes on your bone is deteriorating and you’re missing a few of those girders, which creates weakness. The weakness gradually accumulates until you get redirected here have a fracture. Results of the scan are sent to your health care provider who will determine if treatment is needed. Guidelines for when to get a bone mineral density scan, and how often to repeat the scan, vary.

But this is a very low radiation procedure – it’s about one-tenth the amount of a chest X-ray. “All drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of osteoporosis reduce the risk of fracture. They are safe and most tolerate them without difficulty,” Walker says. To detect decreased bone mass in the skeleton, clinicians rely on a non-invasive scanning technology known as DXA (short for dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and pronounced “dexa”).


Falls can be especially serious for people with weak bones. You can make small changes to lower your risk of falling, like doing exercises that improve your balance. For example, tai chi is a mind-body additional reading exercise that improves balance. If you don’t have insurance, you may still be able to get a free or low-cost bone density test. Find a health center near you and ask about bone density tests.

The test will tell you if you have osteoporosis (or weak bones), and it can help you understand your risk of breaking a bone in the future. Your score is a sign of osteopenia, a condition in which bone density is below normal and may lead to osteoporosis. Tobacco official statement use leads to significant bone loss in women and men, longer healing
times after a fracture and a higher risk for complications. It means your bones are weak and more likely to break. People with osteoporosis most often break bones in the hip, spine, and wrist.

But if you have clinical risk factors for bone loss – so that would be low body weight, smoking, family history or a previous fracture — it really should be at menopause. Many women enter menopause with low bone mass already, and there’s a subset of women that can lose up to 5 percent of their bone mass every year for six years. For women under 65, bone density tests may be recommended based on risk factors for osteoporosis, such as a family history of the disease or a history of fractures. Prevent falls by keeping your eyeglass prescription up-to-date and by getting help for hearing loss. (Diminished hearing increases the risk for falls and balance problems.) Keep floors and stairs clear of obstacles that could trip you.

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