Jeanette M. le Noir, M.D.
Sees patients at Marshfield Clinic Weston Center
Question: Why should I have a bone density scan?
It can help confirm a diagnosis of osteoporosis, as well as your risk for suffering a fracture.
Most women who have no known risk factors for bone loss can wait until age 65 for a bone density scan.
However, if you have a family history of osteoporosis, are on certain medications or have diabetes, we recommend you have your first scan at the beginning of menopause.
Ask your provider to use the Fracture Risk Assessment tool, which takes into account several factors to measure your future risk of suffering a bone fracture.
People sometimes overlook bone density as a health concern.
But in fact, a woman’s risk of hip fracture due to bone loss is equal to her COMBINED risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancers.
About one-fourth of people over age 50 who have a hip fracture will die within a year, usually because they can’t move around well and contract pneumonia.
Loss of bone density and its related complications represents a large part of my clinical practice.
Many women have a deficiency of Vitamin D, which helps build and protect bone.
In our climate, most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D from the sun, so I recommend that most women over age 50 supplement their diets with Vitamin D3, 800 units per day or more.
primary care doctors provide care in a number of our centers. Your primary care doctor can refer you to the appropriate specialty and location for bone density scans or other tests as needed.