Post-menopausal women are at an increased risk of osteoporosis, which is a condition characterised by fragile, brittle bones and an increased incidence of fractures due to minimal trauma.
Whilst osteoporosis is relatively common, many more people have low bone density (osteopaenia), which is a possible precursor to osteoporosis. It is generally a silent disease without obvious symptoms.
Healthy Bones Australia recommends that anyone who experiences a minimal-trauma fracture and is 50 years or over should be investigated for osteoporosis. Investigation is also recommended for those who are likely to be at an increased risk, for example, due to a family history of osteoporosis.
Sydney Breast Clinic provides bone mineral testing using state of the art DEXA densitometry technology to obtain an x-ray of the lower spine and hips and to calculate how much x-ray energy is absorbed by the bones, which correlates to relative bone density. A radiologist will analyse the results and provide a written report.
Medicare rebates are available for DEXA scans if the referring doctor considers a patient to be at risk of osteoporosis due to another medical condition, or for those aged 70 years and over.