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All too many times overwhelmed caregivers are physically and emotionally depleted and need to take time to rest and care for themselves. Believing in a holistic approach to caregiver stress and a strong commitment to helping our members find the right solutions, we created this blog to help you connect with others who, like you, may be facing the same eldercare issues and challenges. Feel free to comment, ask questions, and submit articles. Please forward the blog link to your family and friends. They'll be glad you did.

Warm regards,

Patricia Grace
founder & CEO
Aging with Grace

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How Often Do Women Really Need Bone Density Tests?

Screening for osteoporosis can protect against fractures, but many women may be getting tested too often.

Older women are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis and bone loss, which can lead to potentially debilitating bone fractures. To gauge bone strength in these patients, many doctors order bone mineral density tests every two years — which is how often Medicare reimburses the test — but a new study finds that such screenings can be delayed much longer.

The latest research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggests that most women with normal or near-normal scores of bone density on an initial test may not need another one for up to 15 years.

The study addresses a difficult question that many doctors caring for older patients face. Bone mineral density readings, or T scores, which measure bone thickness at certain spots, usually the hip and spine, compare patients’ bone density to that of a healthy young adult. So, a T score of -2.5 or lower qualifies as osteoporosis, and women at these levels are recommended to continue testing regularly and begin drug treatments to strengthen their bones. But what about women with slightly higher readings? Do they need to be monitored as often?

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