How is osteoporosis diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider can order a test to give you information about your bone health before problems begin. Bone mineral density (BMD) tests are also known as dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA or DXA) scans. These X-rays use very small amounts of radiation to determine how solid the bones of the spine, hip or wrist are. Regular X-rays will only show osteoporosis when the disease is very far along.

All women over the age of 65 should have a bone density test. The DEXA scan may be done earlier for women who have risk factors for osteoporosis. Men over age 70, or younger men with risk factors, should also consider getting a bone density test.

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