by EBSCO Medical Review Board

The purpose of screening is to find and treat disease early. Screening tests are given to people who don’t have symptoms. However, they may be at a high risk for developing it.

Screening Guidelines

The decision to screen or not is usually based on your risk factors. The National Osteoporosis Foundation suggests:

  • All women aged 65 years and older and men aged 70 years and older
  • Women who have been through menopause with one or more risk factors
  • Men aged 50-69 years old with one or more risk factors
  • Any adult age 50 years and older with a broken bone (not caused by injury)
  • Any adult with health conditions that cause bone loss
  • Any adult who takes medicines that cause bone loss

Screening Tests

A bone mineral density test (BMD) screens for osteoporosis. BMD measures your bone mass. Then, it’s compared to a healthy 30 year old adult. It may also be compared to the normal bone mass of someone your age. This is called a Z score. BMD results let you know if your bone density is in a normal range or not.


NOF's clinician's guide to prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. National Osteoporosis Foundation website. Available at: Accessed June 26, 2018.

Osteoporosis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:  . Updated February 1, 2018. Accessed June 26, 2018.

Qaseem A, Snow V, Shekelle P. Screening for osteoporosis in men: a clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2008;148(9):680-684.

4/21/2015 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance  : Altkorn D, Cifu AS. Screening for osteoporosis. JAMA. 2015;313(14):1467-1468.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcie L. Sidman, MD
  • Review Date: 05/2018
  • Update Date: 06/26/2018