Osteoporosis is a disease of the bone that makes a person’s bones weak and more likely to break. Approximately 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, and another 44 million have low bone density, placing them at increased risk. One in two women and up to one in four men will break a bone in their lifetime due to osteoporosis. For women, the incidence is greater than that of heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer combined.
The diagnosis of osteoporosis is made using bone densitometry (DEXA scan). Most medical organizations recommend starting to screen for osteoporosis at age 65. However, there are several risk factors that would qualify you for earlier screening. Should you get a DEXA scan before age 65? Very possibly, yes.
When to Screen for Osteoporosis in Postmenopausal Women Younger than Age 65:
- History of a fragility fracture (a fracture that occurs from low energy trauma such as a fall from standing height or less)
- Bodyweight is less than 127 lbs.
- Medical causes of bone loss — (certain medications or diseases can cause premature bone loss)
- Parental history of hip fracture
- Current smoker
- Rheumatoid arthritis
If you have questions about whether you should be screened early for osteoporosis, please talk to one of our healthcare providers.
To Your Health,
Sources: National Osteoporosis Foundation Fast Facts about Osteoporosis
ACOG Practice Bulletin 129. 2012;120:718-34.