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Bone Density: A Clue to Your Future

DEXA bone density scans: Will you glide into your golden years or live out a fractured fairy tale?

Using the Bone Density Test Results

Depending on the test results, your health care provider may suggest a number of actions, from starting medication that helps maintain or build bone, to urging you to exercise more and pay attention to your calcium and vitamin D intake.

The schedule for the repeat test depends on the results and opinions differ. "If there is well-preserved bone, my rule is to repeat every five years," Cosman says. "If it's in the medium range -- one to two years. If it's very low and you are on medication -- every year."

Hope for the Future

Researchers are working on a method to make the science of fracture prediction more precise, Cosman says. The new method would base the prediction on the bone density test and other information such as medical history and age.

The hope is to tell a woman what her predicted risk of fracture is within a specific time frame, for example: Your risk is 10% in the next 10 years. "It will help people put things in perspective," Cosman says.

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Reviewed on December 26, 2010
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