Checklist for Risk of Broken Bones and Osteoporosis
□ Am I 65 or older?
□ Have I broken a bone from a simple fall or bump since age 40?
□ Has either my mother or father had a hip fracture?
□ Do I smoke?
□ Do I regularly drink three or more alcoholic drinks per day?
□ Do I have a condition that requires me to use a glucocorticoid medication such as prednisone?
□ Do I take any other medication that can cause osteoporosis such as an aromatase inhibitor for breast cancer or hormonal treatment (androgen deprivation therapy) for prostate cancer?
□ Do I have a medical condition that can cause bone loss or fractures? Examples include rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, gastric bypass surgery, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or chronic liver disease.
□ Did I have an early menopause, i.e. before age 45?
□ Have my periods ever stopped for several months or more (other than for pregnancy or menopause)?
□ Have I ever suffered from impotence, lack of sexual desire or other symptoms related to low levels of testosterone (male sex hormone)?
□ Do I currently weigh less than 60 kg or 132 lbs?
□ Have I lost more than 10% of my body weight since age 25?
□ Have I recently had an X-ray that showed a spinal fracture?
□ Have I had an X-ray that showed low bone mineral density?
If you are over 50 and have checked one or more of the above, Osteoporosis Canada recommends that you talk to your doctor to see if you need a bone mineral density test and about doing a comprehensive fracture risk assessment with FRAX or CAROC.
If you are under 50, it is very unlikely that you need a bone mineral density test unless you have a chronic medical condition or medication that puts you at high risk for fractures. If you are unsure, speak to your doctor.
□ Have I lost 2 cm (3/4″) in height as measured by my healthcare provider, or 6 cm (2 1/2″) overall from when I was younger?
□ Do I have kyphosis (a forward curvature of the back)?
If you are over 50 and have checked one or more of the above, Osteoporosis Canada recommends that you talk to your doctor about getting checked for the possibility of a spine fracture. This is done with a regular back X-ray.
Frequent falls can lead to broken bones.
□ Have I fallen two or more times in the past year?
□ Do I have an unsteady walk and poor balance?
□ Do I need to push with my arms to get up from a chair?
□ Do I need an assistive device such as a cane, walker or wheelchair?
If you have checked one or more of the above, you are at risk of falling and you need to take steps to prevent falls.
Learn more about diagnosis and risk factors