Who should get tested for osteoporosis?

David Slovik, MD
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
Screenings for osteoporosis are not routinely given to everyone; instead, they are done on an individual basis. Experts are still debating who should receive bone density screening, and it remains unclear whether the benefits of tests such as dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) justify the cost of testing everyone. It's best to talk to your doctor about whether testing is right for you.
Consider being screened if you are:
  • A woman age 65 or older or a man age 70 or older
  • A postmenopausal woman under age 65 or a man age 50 to 70 with one or more risk factors for osteoporosis
  • A woman who is in menopausal transition who has specific risk factors that increase fracture risk (such as low body weight or a prior fracture)
  • A woman or man over age 50 who has fractured a bone
  • A woman or man who has taken glucocorticoids for at least two months
  • A woman or man with a medical condition or taking a medication that places you at high risk for osteoporotic fractures.
In addition, people who are considering osteoporosis therapy might also get a bone mineral density (BMD) test if the test would help them make a treatment decision.
However, it's important to note that coverage varies among insurance plans; some plans may refuse to pay for DXA testing. Thus, unless you're willing to foot the bill yourself, it pays to check with your plan first.

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