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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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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.