To determine your fracture risk and whether you need osteoporosis treatment, you’ll most likely undergo a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan, which measures the density of bones in the hips and spine.
The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends an initial bone-density test at age 65, or age 60 if you are taking corticosteroids. However, if you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you should have a baseline test when first diagnosed with RA and every year after, even if you are not on corticosteroids, says Steven L. Teitelbaum, MD, Messing Professor of Pathology and Immunology at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. If you have osteoarthritis (OA), having a baseline test at age 65 is fine.
If you’ve already lost significant bone mass, you’ll likely be prescribed medication to help strengthen your bones and prevent additional loss.