If you or your doctor thinks you may be at risk for osteoporosis, you may have a screening test if you have:
A broken bone (fracture) from a minor injury and the fracture may have been caused by osteoporosis.
Another medical condition that is known to cause bone thinning. This includes hyperthyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn's disease.
Risk factors for osteoporosis or symptoms that suggest osteoporosis. Risk factors include having a family history of the condition, smoking, and getting little or no exercise.
Testing for women and men
Osteoporosis Canada recommends that all women and men age 65 and older routinely have a bone density test to check for osteoporosis.footnote 1
If you are at increased risk for broken bones caused by osteoporosis, routine testing should start sooner.footnote 1 Osteoporosis Canada recommends that you and your doctor check your fracture risk using a tool such as FRAX to help decide whether you should be screened for osteoporosis.
The FRAX tool can help predict your risk of having a fracture related to osteoporosis in the next 10 years. You can use this tool. Go to the website at www.sheffield.ac.uk/FRAX/tool.aspx?country=19 and fill out the questionnaire. If you have had a bone density test on your hip (femoral neck BMD), you can type in your score. If you have not had that test, you can leave the score blank.
Talk to your doctor about your risk factors and when to start bone density screening.
A dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) test checks for osteoporosis. The test measures bone thickness. It is used to see if your bones are getting thin and brittle, which means they could break more easily.
Papaioannou A, et al. (2010). 2010 clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of osteoporosis in Canada: Summary. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 182(17): 1864–1873. DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.100771. Accessed October 28, 2014.
Current as of:
February 27, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff Medical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine Carla J. Herman MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Carla J. Herman MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
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