While osteoporosis most commonly is diagnosed in women 50 and older, following healthy habits that support bone mass earlier in life can help prevent the disorder.

Osteoporosis causes bone to become more fragile over time, which means that even minor falls can cause fractures. It is a silent disease because often it goes undetected until a bone breaks.

Adults reach peak bone mass at about age 30 and women start to lose bone at a much more rapid rate after menopause due to a dramatic drop in estrogen levels. One in two women and one in four men over the age of 50 will experience a bone break due to osteoporosis or osteopenia, low bone mass that can develop into osteoporosis.

One of these fractures in the hip can be very dangerous. About 20% of people who suffer hip fractures die within a year due to complications, so it’s critical to prevent those breaks.

Exercising regularly, consuming a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, avoiding tobacco and drinking no more than two alcoholic drinks a day can support bone mass.

It’s also important to know your bone density level. A bone density screening, known as a DXA scan, is a simple test that measures bone mass, usually in the hips and lumbar spine. It determines if you have or are at risk for osteoporosis and allows you to treat bone loss before a fracture occurs.

We follow the recommendations of the International Society for Clinical Densitometry and suggest baseline bone density screenings for healthy women at age 65 and healthy men at age 70. Physicians may request bone density screenings for women younger than 65 based on certain risk factors and medical conditions.

The DXA scan is the standard for bone density screening. A certified DXA technologist will conduct the exam, which uses a very low amount of radiation. You will lie still on the exam table as a scanner passes over the lower spine and hip area. You won't feel anything during the screening.

You can schedule your bone density screening online with a physician’s order. Click here to schedule your appointment.