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by EBSCO Medical Review Board

Screening for Osteoporosis

The purpose of screening is to find and treat disease early. Screening tests are given to people who don’t have symptoms. However, they may be at a high risk for developing it.

Screening Guidelines

The decision to screen or not is usually based on your risk factors. The National Osteoporosis Foundation suggests:
  • All women aged 65 years and older and men aged 70 years and older
  • Women who have been through menopause with one or more risk factors
  • Men aged 50-69 years old with one or more risk factors
  • Any adult age 50 years and older with a broken bone (not caused by injury)
  • Any adult with health conditions that cause bone loss
  • Any adult who takes medicines that cause bone loss

Screening Tests

A bone mineral density test (BMD) screens for osteoporosis. BMD measures your bone mass. Then, it’s compared to a healthy 30 year old adult. It may also be compared to the normal bone mass of someone your age. This is called a Z score. BMD results let you know if your bone density is in a normal range or not.


NOF's clinician's guide to prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. National Osteoporosis Foundation website. Available at: https://my.nof.org/bone-source/education/clinicians-guide-to-the-prevention-and-treatment-of-osteoporosis. Accessed June 26, 2018.
Osteoporosis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113815/Osteoporosis . Updated February 1, 2018. Accessed June 26, 2018.
Qaseem A, Snow V, Shekelle P. Screening for osteoporosis in men: a clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2008;148(9):680-684.
4/21/2015 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113815/Osteoporosis : Altkorn D, Cifu AS. Screening for osteoporosis. JAMA. 2015;313(14):1467-1468.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcie L. Sidman, MD
  • Review Date: 05/2018
  • Update Date: 06/26/2018