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Ask the Expert:

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Jeanette M. le ​​Noir, M.D. 
Family physician
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.


Marshfield Clinic's 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. ​​​​