Should You Get A Bone Density Test?
When was your last bone scan? Research published in theNew England Journal of Medicinesuggests some women can wait up to 15 years between routine bone tests. Since osteoporosis takes years to develop, these researchers believe that getting tested every 2 years may be overkill if a woman demonstrates healthy bones in her preliminary scan.
The only problem: Many women don’t go in for their initial evaluation.
"Once you hit menopause or go 6-12 months without a menstrual cycle, every woman should go get a bone density test," says Felicia Cosman, MD, Senior Clinical Director of the National Osteoporosis Foundation. But many women neglect to do just that. In fact, a 2008 study published in theJournal of Bone and Mineral Researchfound that only 30% of women in their mid-sixties had undergone a bone scan. As a result of low bone scan rates, a large percentage women do not realize that they are at risk for osteoporosis until they break a bone. (Do you know the symptoms of osteoporosis? Find out here.)
Osteoporosis-related fractures are very serious, leading to pain, disability, and, in the case of a broken hip, a 20% increased risk of dying within the following year. That’s why it is crucial to go in for that initial scan. And unlike other medical tests, there’s not much to stress about: It’s covered by insurance, done in minutes, and completely pain-free.
Video: What is a bone mineral density test?
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