Osteoporosis is a condition marked by thinning and weakening of bones and can lead to fractures, loss of height due to compression of the bones in the spine, and pain. Currently, osteoporosis is most commonly diagnosed by finding an abnormal result on X-rays that measure bone mineral density.
Osteoporosis and fracture are most common in older women and are due to gradual loss of bone after menopause. Fifty percent of all women who live to be 85 years of age will have an osteoporosis-related fracture during their lives; 25% of these women will develop a deformity of the spine, and 15% will fracture a hip. Screening women at risk for osteoporosis can lead to early detection and treatment, thus preventing fractures.
The USPSTF makes no recommendation for or against routine osteoporosis screening in postmenopausal women who are younger than 60 or in women aged 60-64 who are not at increased risk for osteoporotic fractures.
Other tests to measure bone mineral density of the hand, heel, wrist, and forearm include include single photon absorptiometry, quantitative computed tomography, single-energy x-ray absorptiometry, and peripheral quantitative computed tomography.