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Too few women over 65 being screened for osteoporosis.

Researchers who analyzed medical records of more than 50,000 women discovered that nearly half of women who were age 65 and older had not had a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan, a test that measures bone mineral density and reveals whether osteoporosis is present.

Among women 65 and older, about 58 percent of women aged 65 to 74 had a DXA scan, and about 43 percent of women older than 75 were scanned. Among younger women, about 45 percent of low-risk women ages 50 to 59 were screened, as were 59 percent of women ages 60 to 64.

Overall, osteoporosis screening rates rose sharply at age 50, despite guidelines suggesting that screening begin only at age 65 unless a woman has risk factors for osteoporosis. Factors that increase the risk of osteoporosis include having a body mass index of less than 20, a history of previous fracture, taking gluco-corticoid medications, such as cortisone or prednisone, having rheumatoid arthritis, alcohol abuse, and/or current smoking.

All women age 65 and older are advised to have a DXA scan. If osteoporosis is detected, medications, dietary changes, supplements (see article on page 3), and getting weight-bearing exercise can help strengthen bones. Most women younger than 65 need a DXA scan only if they have one or more risk factors for osteoporosis.

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Publication:Women's Health Advisor
Date:Oct 1, 2015
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