Do You Need a DEXA Scan?

Medicare has established guidelines that recommend DEXA scans for certain people:

  • estrogen-deficient women at clinical risk for osteoporosis;
  • individuals with vertebral abnormalities;
  • individuals receiving long-term glucocorticoid (steroid) therapy;
  • individuals with primary hyperparathyroidism; and
  • individuals being monitored to assess the response of osteoporosis therapies approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends bone density testing for:

  • all women over age 65; and
  • all women under the age of 65 who have one or more risk factors for osteoporosis in addition to menopause.

If you are a man, a premenopausal female, or someone else who does not fit into any of the listed categories, you may still be able to get a DEXA scan if you feel you are at high risk for osteoporosis. Be sure to discuss your risk factors with your physician.