When should a woman be tested for osteoporosis?

The search for osteoporosis may begin after a postmenopausal woman has a fracture, or after a test shows that the mineral content of her bones is lower than normal for her age and size. Specialists in osteoporosis will recommend a bone density test if specific medical conditions indicate that a woman's current risk of fractures is relatively high. However, for a treatment to be appropriate and worthwhile, the expected reduction in risk would have to be great enough to justify the cost and risks of treatment.

The major reasons for suspecting that a postmenopausal woman has a high risk of having a fracture are as follows:
  • A low-trauma (usually spinal) fracture has already occurred.
  • One parent has had at least one low-trauma fracture.
  • Two or more inches in height has been lost since the age of 25.
  • She has had a disease or has taken a drug known to increase bone loss.

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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.