The risk of decreased bone density starts at age 50, so it's appropriate to start screening patients then to maximize the benefit and cost-effectiveness of fracture prevention. Other risk factors for osteoporosis are smoking, alcohol use, long term use of prednisone or steroids, medical history of rheumatoid arthritis, and family history. There is a higher percentage of older women who suffer from osteoporosis when compared to older men. The good news is that there are innovative options aimed at detecting osteoporosis, one of which is the DEXA (bone densitometry) scan. This scan uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body (usually the lower spine and hips) to measure bone loss. It is commonly used to diagnose osteoporosis and to assess an individual’s risk for developing fractures. DEXA is simple, quick, noninvasive, and accurate at diagnosing. Treatment of osteoporosis include the use of medications like Fosamax, weight bearing exercises, and healthy diet. If you or your loved one have any of the risk factors for the disease, you should consider getting a DEXA scan.