When Should You Get a Bone-Density Test?

Senior-Health-Update-Dan's-Wellness-Pharmacy-Newsletter-May-2016There are tests you can have done to find out your bone density – how strong or fragile your bones are. One test is called dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA or dexa). A DXA scan takes X-rays of your bones. Screening tools also can be used to predict the risk of having low bone density or breaking a bone. Talk with your doctor about the best way to assess your risk.

If you are age 65 or older, you should get a bone-density test to screen for osteoporosis. If you are younger than 65 and have risk factors for osteoporosis, ask your doctor if you need a bone-density test. To find out your fracture risk and whether you need early bone-density testing, your doctor will consider risk factors such as:

  • Your age and (for women) whether you have reached menopause
  • Your height and weight
  • Whether you smoke
  • Your daily alcohol use
  • Whether your mother or father has broken a hip
  • Medicines you use
  • Whether you have a disorder that increases your risk of getting osteoporosis.

Source: National  Institute on Aging