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Bone density screening

Bone density screening

Are you at risk for developing osteoporosis or osteopenia? The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that people with risk factors as well as women aged 65 or older and men aged 70 or older have a bone density test to find out.

  • Quick, easy and painless
  • May remain fully dressed
  • Machine uses very little radiation to capture images of the lumbar spine and hips

The test measures bone density to predict the risk of osteoporotic fracture during the next 10 years. People at risk of osteoporosis or osteopenia have a greater chance of fracturing these bones, and that can lead to more serious problems including longer recovery times and disability.

Medicare and many commercial insurance plans cover bone density screenings every other year for those over age 50 or after menopause. If osteoporosis is found, medications may be prescribed to help stimulate bone density growth.

  • Bone density screenings may be scheduled by a doctor's referral only.
  • Most primary care physicians will recommend one for patients who fit the criteria.

Bone density loss has a variety of causes, including:

  • A medical condition such as an auto-immune disorder
  • Medications such as long-term use of steroids
  • Poor nutrition
  • Height and body size—petite people are more at risk for developing osteoporosis

Staying active and fit can decrease your risk of developing osteoporosis, because you'll use your bones more than a person with a sedentary lifestyle.