If my clinician does not discuss screeningfor osteoporosis at what age should I make sure that I am screened

You and your clinician should discuss your bone health during every annual exam, regardless of your age. Your calcium and Vitamin D intake, your level of physical activity, and your lifestyle factors such as smoking and drinking alcohol can affect bone health at any age.

If you believe that you have one or more risk factors for developing osteoporosis, it is important to discuss being screened with your clinician (see Question 13). The Surgeon General, in his 2004 report on bone health, advises that the following "red flags" at any age should warrant further assessment for osteoporosis or other bone diseases:

  • Fracture following mild or moderate trauma (e.g., fracture after falling from standing height or less) (see Question 74)
  • Low body weight or weight loss of over 1% per year in elders
  • Loss of height or progressive curvature of the spine
  • Family member with bone disease
  • Delayed puberty
  • Atypical ending of menstrual periods (e.g., early menopause)
  • High levels of alkaline phosphatase (a liver enzyme) or serum calcium in persons who are otherwise healthy
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Amenorrhea, either due to intense physical activity, eating disorders, or hormonal imbalances
  • Treatment with medications that affect bone remodeling (e.g., glucocorticosteroids; see Question 16)

If you believe that you have one or more risk factors for developing osteoporosis, it is important to discuss being screened with your clinician

Supplements

Additional doses of vitamins, minerals, or other dietary substances; usually taken to enhance diet to get the recommended amount for your age, gender, and medical conditions.

  • Presence of disease that is associated with secondary osteoporosis (see Question 17)
  • Over production of thyroid or parathyroid hormones or intake of high thyroid hormone doses
  • Prolonged immobilization
  • Calcium deficiency (caused by inadequate calcium intake or poor absorption)
  • Vitamin D deficiency (caused by low intake through diet or supplements or poor absorption).

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