How is Osteoporosis Diagnosed?
Osteoporosis is diagnosed by combining your medical history, a physical examination and specific tests for osteoporosis.
These include x-rays to check if any bone fractures have occurred and bone mineral density scans. This scan measures the density/strength of your bones in comparison to the bone density of an average young adult of the same gender and ethnicity. The most reliable way to measure bone density is the dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan, which is widely available around Australia with a doctor’s referral.
You may see advertisements for other types of bone density testing, called Heel Ultrasounds. Heel Ultrasound is not the recommended standard test to measure your bone strength and predict your risk of fracture.
Your doctor will also measure your height, because losing 3cm (more than 1 inch) in height can be a signal that you have had a ‘crush’ fracture in your spine (these fractures are sometimes painless, so they can go unnoticed).
For more information about diagnosing osteoporosis call our free Helpline on 1800 011 041 and speak to one of our health educators.