Osteoporosis Screening

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Osteoporosis Screening

Topic Overview

If you or your doctor thinks you may be at risk for developing osteoporosis, you may have a screening test to check your bone thickness. A screening test may be advisable if you have:

  • A fracture in a minor injury that may have been caused by osteoporosis.
  • Another medical condition that is known to cause bone thinning.
  • Risk factors for, or symptoms that suggest, osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis Canada recommends that all women and men age 65 and older routinely have a bone mineral density test to screen for osteoporosis. If you are at increased risk for fractures caused by osteoporosis, routine screening should begin earlier.1 Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and whether you should be tested for osteoporosis before age 65.

Most experts recommend that the decision to test women and men younger than 65 be made on an individual basis, depending on the risk of developing osteoporosis and whether the test results will help with treatment decisions. To help you decide whether you should be tested for osteoporosis, see:

Click here to view a Decision Point. Osteoporosis: Should I Have a Dual X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) Test?

For more information, see the topic Osteoporosis.



  1. Papaioannou A, et al. (2010). 2010 clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of osteoporosis in Canada: Summary. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 182 (17): 1864–1873.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Andrew Swan, MD, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Carla J. Herman, MD, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
Last Revised January 6, 2011

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