Screening for Osteoporosis
The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment. Screening tests are usually administered to people without current symptoms, but who may be at high risk for certain diseases or conditions.
The main screening test for osteoporosis is called a bone mineral density test (BMD). This is a painless, noninvasive method of measuring your bone mass. A BMD test can detect osteoporosis before a fracture occurs and can estimate your risk of having a fracture in the future.
With a BMD test, your bone mass is measured and then compared to that of either (1) a healthy 30-year-old adult (T-score) or (2) the expected bone mass of someone your age (Z-score). Because low BMD is common among older adults, comparison to peers your age can be misleading. The results of a BMD test will indicate whether you have normal bone density, low bone density (called osteopenia), or full-blown osteoporosis.
There are several types of BMD tests that are used to screen for or diagnose osteoporosis.
Currently there is no consensus within the medical community regarding BMD screening tests. The decision whether to screen is usually made on an individual basis based on your risk factors. The National Osteoporosis Foundation suggests the following for initial screening:
- All women age 65 and older and men age 70 and older, regardless of risk factors
- Postmenopausal women and men aged 50-69 with one or more risk factors for osteoporosis
- Any adult age 50 years and older with a fracture
- Any adult with a health condition or medication associated with low bone mass or bone loss
- Michael Woods, MD
- Reviewed: 05/2015
- Updated: 05/20/2015
Please note, not all procedures included in this resource library are available at Allegiance Health or performed by Allegiance Health physicians.
All EBSCO Publishing proprietary, consumer health and medical information found on this site is accredited by URAC. URAC's Health Web Site Accreditation Program requires compliance with 53 rigorous standards of quality and accountability, verified by independent audits. To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at HLEditorialTeam@ebscohost.com.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.