How is osteoporosis diagnosed?

Osteoporosis can be diagnosed in different ways depending on how the case is presented. Physicians can use the following tools to make a diagnosis:

Blood test – used with primary and secondary osteoporosis;
DXA (Dual X-ray absorptiometry) – used to determine the amount of bone mass loss;
Bone scan – used when the physician suspects cancer;
• X-ray; and
Bone marrow biopsy – distinguishes between vitamin D deficiency (osteomalacia) and osteoporosis.

A physician may also choose to inquire about the patients history of drug use as drugs can interfere with bone metabolism. For instance, prednisone side effects for asthma or a rheumatic disease includes osteoporosis. Alcohol and smoking can also contribute to the development of osteoporosis.

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