Q: When should I start having bone-density tests?
A: A bone-density test tells you and your doctor if you have normal bone density, low bone density or osteoporosis. The lower your bone density, the greater your risk of breaking a bone. This test uses a machine to quickly and painlessly measure your bone density. It estimates the amount of bone in your hip, spine and sometimes other bones. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that you have a bone-density test if you are a woman age 65 or older, if you are a man age 70 or older, if you break a bone after age 50, if you are a woman of menopausal age with risk factors, if you are a postmenopausal woman under age 65 with one or more risk factors or you are a man age 50 to 69 with risk factors. Risk factors (aside from age for both sexes and menopause status for women) include a family history of osteoporosis, low body weight/being small and thin, current smoking, excessive alcohol use, certain medical conditions, certain medications and broken bones or height loss.
Source: National Osteoporosis Foundation