Every year there are 300,000 fractures. That’s almost
1 fracture every 2 minutes.1

Diagnosing Postmenopausal Osteoporosis

A risk factor assessment is an important first step in evaluating your risk for osteoporosis. To find out if you have a high chance of developing osteoporosis, take the Osteoporosis Symptom Checker.

Osteoporosis symptom checker

1. Osteoporosis Self-Assessment Tool for Asians (OSTA)1

Age (Yr) Weight (kg)
40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64 65-69 70-74 75-79
45-49
50-54
55-59 LOW RISK
60-64
65-69
70-74 MODERATE RISK
75-79 HIGH RISK
80-84
85-89

Understanding your OSTA score

Risk category What does it mean? What must you do?
High Your risk of having osteoporosis is HIGH. About 61% of individuals in the high-risk group have osteoporosis. Consult your doctor to have your bone mass checked. In addition to a diet with adequate calcium and regular weight-bearing exercises, you may require medicine/supplements to strengthen your bones.
Moderate Your risk of having osteoporosis is MODERTE. About 15% of individuals in the moderate-risk group have osteoporosis. See your doctor to determine whether you have any other risk factors. In addition to a diet with adequate calcium and regular weight-bearing exercises, you may need to change your lifestyle (quit smoking, drink less alcohol) to reduce your risk.
Low Your risk of having osteoporosis is LOW. Only about 3% of individuals in the low-risk group have osteoporosis. However, if you have any of the risk factors, please see a doctor. You still need to maintain a diet with adequate calcium and do regular weight-bearing exercises to maintain bone risk.

2. Fracture Risk Assessment Tool (FRAXTM)

Suitable for men and women, FRAXTM is an online programme made up of assessment algorithms which include clinical factors alone, or the combination of clinical risk factors plus BMD (bone mineral density).

You will need to select your country, key in your details (have your height in centimetres and weight in kilogrammes), complete the simple questionnaire and wait for the analysis based on your details.

Do remember to record your results for consultation with your doctor.

Watch out for these early signs

Although osteoporosis typically sets in over the years, and is most often diagnosed after a sudden fall, there are a few general signs that you can look out for.

1
Are your shoulders starting to slope?
2
Have you noticed a curve in your back?
3
Do you feel shorter?
4
Have you been having a lot of back pain?
5
Have you got more hunched recently?

Who can help you diagnose postmenopausal osteoporosis?

  • Your General Practitioner (GP). He or she will dive into your medical and family history for a complete understanding of your background.

  • An Obstetrician or Gynaecologist would also be able to help you.

  • Depending on your initial assessment, your doctor may refer you to an Orthopaedist, Rheumatologist, Endocrinologist or specialist Obstetrician/Gynaecologist with expertise in managing or co-managing the condition.

What tests do you need?

If your doctor suspects osteoporosis behind the symptoms you have described, he or she will recommend you take a BMD (bone mineral density) test.

  • This is used to measure bone density at your hip and spine.

  • It is similar to having an x-ray but with much less exposure to radiation.

  • It is a short, painless procedure that takes around 10 to 20 minutes, depending on which part of your body is being scanned.

A BMD test is the most common measurement tool used to:

1
Detect low bone density before a fracture happens.
2
Confirm a diagnosis of osteoporosis if you already have a fracture.
3
Predict your chances of having a fracture in the future.
4
Determine your rate of bone loss.
5
Measure your response to osteoporosis treatment.

Possible questions to ask your doctor

There will be a lot on your mind when you visit your doctor.
It’s good to have the results of your Osteoporosis Symptom Checker with you and some questions planned out. For example:

1
Given my age, weight and medical history, what are my risks of having osteoporosis?
2
What changes do I need to make to my lifestyle and diet?
3
What types of exercises do you recommend to reduce my risk of osteoporosis? Are there any exercises I shouldn’t do?
4
What medications or supplements would you recommend to prevent or treat osteoporosis?
5
What can I do to prevent falls and broken bones?
  1. National Osteoporosis Society. Life with osteoporosis: the untold story. Available at: https://alterline.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/NOS-Public-Report-V2.2-for-download.pdf Accessed: April 2020.
  2. Muslim D, Mohd E, Sallehudin A, Tengku Muzaffar T, Ezane A. Performance of Osteoporosis Self-assessment Tool for Asian (OSTA) for Primary Osteoporosis in Post-menopausal Malay Women. Malays Orthop J. 2012;6(1):35-39. doi:10.5704/MOJ.1203.011.