FAQ: Should I Be Checked for Osteoporosis?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 27, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Should I be checked for osteoporosis?

Expert Answers

Dr. Leslie Kernisan is a senior medical editor at Caring.com and a clinical instructor in the University of California, San Francisco, Division of Geriatrics. She also provides housecalls and geriatric consultations in San Francisco.

If you're a woman age 65 or older, then yes, most experts would recommend that you be screened for osteoporosis. For men and women younger than 65, screening is usually recommended only if particular risk factors for osteoporosis have been identified. (These include having a personal history of certain types of fractures, as well as taking certain types of medications.)

Checking for osteoporosis is usually done by measuring bone density through a DEXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) scan.

It's especially important to be checked for osteoporosis if you've noticed any loss of height or rounding of the upper spine (sometimes known as a "dowager's hump"). Such changes in posture are often due to osteoporotic fractures of the spine's vertebrae.

Identifying osteoporosis is important, since treating it can reduce the chance of fractures later in life.

If you've already been checked for osteoporosis, you may be wondering when you need to be checked again. Experts vary in their recommendations for follow-up DEXAs, but in general, if your first DEXA was negative for osteoporosis, many experts feel that a follow-up check in three to five years is reasonable.

Community Answers

Suzana answered...

Diet, diet is the important thing. Drinking milk and taking copious amounts of calcium is not the way I take care of my bones. I believe in eating calcium nutrient VEGGIES. We still don't get it in the US. Forever showing silly women with milk mustaches. It's the countries who DON'T sport them who have the least amounts of osteoporosis.