Osteoporosis screening recommendations may miss two-thirds of women aged 50 to 64

January 31, 2014 by Enrique Rivero, University of California, Los Angeles

Women who are 65 and older routinely undergo bone-density testing to screen for osteoporosis. But for those between the ages of 50 and 64, it has been unclear who should be screened.

Researchers sought to determine how well the current screening strategy recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force—the independent expert panel appointed by the to review and recommend various screenings—would perform in identifying candidates in this age range for screening.

Using health data on women ages 50–64 from the Women's Health Initiative study, the researchers found that the current strategy would identify only 34 percent of women who actually had bone-mineral density in the osteoporosis range.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force strategy may not identify the majority of women in the 50–64 age group who would be potential candidates for therapy. As a result, following the strategy may lead to missed opportunities to decrease in at-risk women.

Explore further: Screening helps prevent cervical cancer in older women

More information: "Osteoporosis Screening in Postmenopausal Women 50–64 Years-Old: Comparison of U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Strategy and Two Traditional Strategies in the Women's Health Initiative." Carolyn J. Crandall MD, Joseph Larson , Margaret L. Gourlay MD, et al. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 2014. DOI: 10.1002/jbmr.2174

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