Bone mineral density test helps women predict osteoporosis

Taking a single bone mineral density (BMD) test could help women predict their risk of developing osteoporosis up to 15 years later, according to US research.

The study also found that women who had already suffered a spinal fracture were four times more likely to have another fracture compared with women with no previous fractures.

The findings are based on the largest and longest ever study of osteoporosis which looked at 2,300 women, over the aged of 65, across a 15-year period.

For the study, the researchers took lateral radiographs of the thoracic and lumbar spines of the women and measured their BMD and body weight.

At the end of the study, they found that 18 per cent of women had experienced spinal fractures.

Lead researcher Dr Jane Cauley, from the University of Pittsburgh, said that the findings of the study showed that low BMD is a strong predictor of new vertebral fractures.

JAMA 2007; 298: 2,761–7

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