Thursday, July 10, 2014

Osteoporosis: Bone Mineral Density (DXA) Exam vs Risk Factors

Clinical risk factors* for osteopenia and osteoporosis include:

   - Loss of height
   - Low body weight
   - Advanced age
   - Late age at menarche
   - Menopausal
   - Time since menopause
   - Smoking
   - Calcium intake
   - Alcohol intake
   - Medications
   - Inflammatory conditions
   - Prior fragility fracture

But: Risk factor assessment is NOT a substitute for having a bone mineral density examination (DXA). Research shows that 50% of patients with osteoporosis do not have risk factors and 50% of patients with risk factors do not have osteoporosis as per a DXA exam** (T score of -2.5 or worse).

So: Make sure you get a bone density examination (DXA)! Please do not rely on risk factors because they DO NOT predict your chances of having osteoporosis.

*Riggs B.L. and Melton L.J., NEJM. 1986;314:1676-1686.
**Delmas, P.D. et al. Impact Trial, JBMR. 2005; 20:557-563.
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