blue bulletin from bcidaho

Preventive care: Get screened for osteoporosis

A bone density test can help you know your risk level

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes your bones to become weak and more likely to break or fracture. The best way to know your risk for osteoporosis is to get a bone density test, called a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan. Your risk of breaking a bone is higher if your bone density or T-score, which compares your bone density to what is expected in a healthy adult of your gender, is low.

get screened for osteoporosisA DEXA scan can help you and your provider:

  • Find out if you have osteoporosis
  • Predict your chance of breaking a bone in the future
  • Check your risk for further fractures if you have broken a bone
  • See if your bone density is improving
  • Make sure an osteoporosis medication is working

Who should have a bone density test?

The Bone Health and Osteoporosis Foundation recommends you have a bone density test if:

  • You are a woman age 65 or older
  • You are a man age 70 or older
  • You break a bone after age 50
  • You are a woman of menopausal age with risk factors
  • You are a postmenopausal woman older than 65 who has risk factors
  • You are a man age 50-69 with risk factors

Common risk factors

You are at a higher risk for osteoporosis if you are:

  • Older in age
  • A woman
  • A woman who has reached menopause
  • Have a family history of broken bones or osteoporosis
  • Small and thin

Medical conditions that may cause bone loss

Talk with your doctor about your medical history, as some conditions may increase your risk of getting osteoporosis.

Here are some conditions that may increase your risk:

  • Autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and Multiple Sclerosis
  • Endocrine disorders, such as diabetes, thyroid disorders and low testosterone
  • Digestive disorders, such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease and weight loss surgery
  • Hematologic disorders like sickle-cell disease
  • Neurologic disorders, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease

How you can lower bone loss

There are some steps you can take to protect your bones and reduce your risk of bone loss. Here are some simple ways to keep your bones healthy:

  • Make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D
  • Eat a well-balanced diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables
  • Do weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises
  • Stop smoking
  • Don’t drink alcohol or limit how much you do drink
  • Take a prescribed osteoporosis medication, if needed

Talk to your doctor

Talk to your provider about bone health at your next visit to see if you need to get a bone density screening. If you are at risk and need to get screened for osteoporosis, you and your provider can work together to create a personal care plan to reduce further bone loss.

Learn more about osteoporosis with Sharecare

As a Blue Cross of Idaho member, you have access to Sharecare, a wellbeing app and tool that can help you eat healthier, lower your stress level and get more active. You can find resources on a wide array of health topics, including osteoporosis, as well as wellbeing tips on how to get and stay healthy.

To get the Sharecare app, visit to create your account, download the app and take the RealAge® Test. Do not download the Sharecare app directly from the App Store or Google Play.

Disclaimer: This wellness program is administered by Sharecare, Inc., an independent company that provides health improvement management services to Blue Cross of Idaho members. Sharecare, Inc., does not provide Blue Cross of Idaho products or services and is solely responsible for the health improvement management services it provides.

Posted: September 14, 2022