A new research suggests that elderly women with thin bones should go for bone density screening every year and those with thicker bones can wait for about 17 years to get screened for bone mineral density.
The lead author of the study Dr. Margaret Gourlay from the University of North Carolina and her team assessed results from 4.957 women for 15 years. They made use of a so-called T score derived from measurement of hip bone density using X-rays and found that the ideal time for bone density test depends on a starting point of women. Lower score indicated weaker bones.
At the start of the study, women aged over 67 had a normal T score of -1.00 or more and after 16.8 years, 10% of them developed osteoporosis with a score of -2.50.
They also assessed women with osteopenia and found that it took less time for 10% of them to develop osteoporosis.
The interval for osteoporosis development was 1.1 years among those who scored -2.00 to -2.49, 4.7 years among those who scored -1.50 to -1.99 and 17.3 years among those who scored -1.01 to -1.49.
Researchers were surprised with the separation between low and high risk group, they found unexpectedly.
Though, the time intervals were varying for all women aged 67 or above.
The researchers reported the research in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Gourlay warned that these time intervals may vary among women below 67 years of age.
Gourlay is doubtful about the whether the guidelines will be cost-effective or not. “The research only suggests the way of better use of the test, but we are still concerned about the ordering of the test.”