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Osteoporosis is a common disease in Australia with 1.2 million people estimated to have osteoporosis and further 6.3 million with low bone density. 1 in 2 women and 1 in 3 men over 60 years will have an osteoporotic fracture in Australia.
Population screening for osteoporosis is not recommended in Australia. Investigation of individuals may be considered on the basis of their profile of risk factors. Risk factors for osteoporosis include:
- being postmenopausal
- a family history of osteoporosis
- having chronic illness or malabsorption syndrome
- being on certain medications such as corticosteroids
- having a sedentary lifestyle
- excessive alcohol use
It seems that the more risk factors, the greater the risk. Screening using bone densitometry attracts a Medicare benefit for women aged 70 or more.