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What tests can I get to screen for osteoporosis?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Around the time of menopause, your doc will suggest that you have a DEXA scan—the preferred standard for screening for osteoporosis and determining bone density. We believe in it too. DEXA commonly measures bone density only at the hip and lumbar spine but can measure it in your wrist too.

Ultrasounds, which are safe and cheap, measure only at the heel bones. CT scans use too much radiation for screening but are good for determining the consequences of osteoporosis, like compression factors. Ultrasound and CT scans aren't well correlated with your risk of fracture, while DEXA results are. We suggest one for all women and many men if they're losing height.

If you are tested for bone mass, you probably will have a painless and simple procedure called bone densitometry. The most accurate test is dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). DXA uses low doses of radiation to measure bone density. This test is used when a diagnosis of osteoporosis is uncertain, or when the need for or results of treatment must be assessed accurately. Over time, other tests such as bone ultrasound will also become more available. No test currently is recommended for screening all post-menopausal women.

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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.