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Prevention of Osteoporosis (cont.)

Early Screening for Osteoporosis

The only reliable way to determine loss of bone mass is to have a bone mineral density (BMD) test. People with strong risk factors for osteoporosis should have a BMD test. Take a one-minute osteoporosis risk test from the International Osteoporosis Foundation. Risk factors include the following:

  • Estrogen deficiency
    • Early menopause (age <45 years) from naturally occurring processes or surgical removal of the ovaries
    • Absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea for >1 year)
    • Hypogonadism (impaired gonads, which are the ovaries or testes, or impaired sex hormones, which are estrogen or testosterone)
  • Long-term corticosteroid therapy (>6 months)
  • Family history of hip fracture or vertebral fractures
  • Low body mass index
  • Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia
  • Previous broken bones related to having weak bones
  • Loss of height (widow's hump or dowager's hump)
  • Female sex
  • Asian or white race
  • Poor diet without enough calcium
  • Lack of exercise
  • Excessive exercise leading to cessation of menstruation
  • Smoking
  • Regular use of large amounts of alcohol

Recommendations in the United States are that all women 65 years of age and older should have a bone mineral density test (BMD). Additionally, postmenopausal women younger than 65 years who have one or more risk factors (in addition to being postmenopausal and female), women who present with fractures, and women who are considering therapy for osteoporosis should have a bone mineral density test.

Examples of tests that are used to measure bond mineral density include dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), quantitative computed tomography (QCT), and quantitative ultrasound (QUS). See Bone Mineral Density Tests for more information.

By detecting low bone mass (osteopenia) or porous bones (osteoporosis) early, the patient and the doctor can take action to stop the progression of bone loss. With lifestyle changes and appropriate treatment strategies recommended by a doctor, osteoporosis can be prevented and treated and the consequences of osteoporosis (broken bones and disability) can be avoided.

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