A bone density test measures a person’s bone mass and is used to detect osteoporosis, a condition that affects more than 10 million people in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. People with low bone density are more likely to have weakened bones and fractures, most often in the hip, spine and wrist.
Jessica Francois, ARNP, a nurse practitioner at Bethesda Women’s Health Center  in Palm Beach County, Florida, explains who’s at risk of osteoporosis and how the bone density tests works to detect it.
(Video: The Baptist Health News Team hears from Jessica Francois, ARNP at Bethesda Women’s Health Center, about bone density testing to detect osteoporosis. Video by Steve Pipho)
What Causes Osteoporosis?
Research has determined a number of reasons for weak bones, including a person’s:
- Family history
- Calcium and vitamin D intake
Certain medications and lifestyle behaviors can also increase a person’s risk of osteoporosis. And one of the most recent research studies, published in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), says postmenopausal women with anxiety are more likely to have low bone density and fractures.
Who Should Have a Bone Density Test?
There are a few specific groups of people the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends  be screened for osteoporosis with a bone density test. They are:
- Women age 65 and older
- Women under age 65 with risk factors for osteoporosis
- Men age 70 and older
- Men age 50-69 with risk factors for osteoporosis
Most physicians agree it’s a good idea for all people over the age of 65 to be evaluated for osteoporosis. It can help prevent broken bones in older people, they say.
The Baptist Health South Florida News Team visited Jessica Francois, ARNP, to learn more. Watch the video now!