Why you need it: About 10 million Americans suffer from osteoporosis, a disease that causes bones to become weak and brittle. Postmenopausal women have the highest risk.
What the test is like: A bone mineral density test uses X-rays to measure the amount of calcium and other minerals present in different segments of bone, typically your wrist, lower spine and hip, depending on the type of test done.
When to start: A bone density test is recommended for women over the age of 65. If you’re younger than 65 but at high risk for osteoporosis, (e.g., you’ve had a broken bone after age 50, you’re of Caucasian or Asian descent, or you have a family history of osteoporosis), talk to your doctor about when and how often you should be screened.