I have a strong history of osteoporosis in my family. I would like to know what is the recommended age to begin getting bone scans?

Bone density scanning, also called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), is an enhanced form of x-ray technology that is used to measure bone loss. DEXA is often used to detect and diagnosis osteoporosis in patients. Bone mass peaks around age 30 and then declines – women tend to lose bone most rapidly during menopause. Age is not the only factor that influences our bones. However, women who are around or past the menopausal age are more prone to bone weakening, increasing the risks of osteoporosis. The age medical experts now recommend that women wait to be screened is age 65. While they can predict fracture risk in the short-term, a scan taken at age 45 for example, generally has no value for predicting what may occur when the woman is 70 or 80.

The National Women’s Health Network believes that the routine practice of screening for osteoporosis should be balanced by increased awareness of the shortcomings of these techniques.It is important to note DEXA scans should be interpreted with caution.

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