The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that all women age 65 and older get screened for osteoporosis. In addition, post-menopausal women who are under age 65 but have additional risk factors for osteoporosis (for example, corticosteroid use or a family history of osteoporosis) or who have recently had a fracture should be screened.

Women

Widespread screening of premenopausal and perimenopausal women is not generally recommended, but it might be appropriate depending on your personal health profile. An individualized approach to screening based on advancing age and risk factor profile is optimal. For instance, if you are a perimenopausal woman in your early 50s with several significant risk factors, such as smoking, low body weight, and white ethnicity, testing may be warranted.

Men

The National Osteoporosis Foundation also recommends that all men age 70 and older be screened for osteoporosis. Men who are between the ages of 50 and 70 should be tested for osteoporosis if they are at high risk. Men may be at high risk if they:

  • take a hormone-blocking drug for prostate cancer such as leuprolide (Lupron)
  • smoke
  • drink too much alcohol (three or more drinks per day)
  • take steroids to treat diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or asthma
  • have a chronic disease that affects the lungs, kidneys, stomach or intestines or alters hormone levels
  • have a low testosterone level
  • don’t consume enough calcium or vitamin D
  • don’t get enough exercise

Your doctor may use a new electronic tool called FRAX, which stands for fracture risk assessment tool, to give you an assessment of your fracture risk based on your individual profile.

Publication Review By: Lee H. Riley III, M.D., and Suzanne M. Jan de Beur, M.D.

Published: 18 Nov 2011

Last Modified: 14 Dec 2011