BONE DENSITY TESTING

BONE DENSITY TESTING FOR OSTEOPOROSIS (THINNING OF THE BONES)

Thinning of the bones is more common after menopause in women and with aging in men. It can lead to serious consequences such as fractures of the hip, spine and wrist.

The USPSTF recommends testing for woman over age 65, and also for higher risk women under the age of 65. Risk factors include a history of this problem in your family, cigarette smoking, heavy alcohol use, or broken bones.

The test generally performed is a DEXA scan done with X rays, which measures how much of the X ray beam is absorbed by the bones of the hip and spine.

There is some controversy as to how often to repeat the test. Medicare has been covering repeat testing every 2 years and more often if previous testing is abnormal or you are being treated for osteoporosis.

These guidelines may be changing.