Women with normal BMD may require less frequent osteoporosis screenings

Since 2002, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended that women ages 65 and older be routinely screened for osteoporosis every two years. However, a new study led by Margaret L. Gourlay of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine finds that women ages 67 years and older with normal bone mineral density (BMD) scores may not need screening again for 10 years.

"If a woman's bone density at age 67 is very good, then she doesn't need to be re-screened in two years or three years, because we're not likely to see much change," Gourlay said. "Our study found it would take about 16 years for 10 percent of women in the highest bone density ranges to develop osteoporosis."

In the study, Gourlay and study co-authors analyzed data from 5,035 women aged 67 years and older that were collected as part of the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures.



The study concluded that baseline BMD is the most important factor for doctors to consider in determining how often a patient should be screened.



Gourlay said, "Doctors may adjust these time intervals for a number of reasons, but our results offer an evidence-based starting point for this clinical decision." 
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