Low Bone Mass and Osteoporosis in Women Referring themselves to Dual X-Ray Absorptiometry - Experience with a Health Promotion Action

Gerhard W. Goerres*, 1, Jaap Swanenburg2, Daniel Uebelhart2
1 Institute of Medical Radiology, Buergerspital Solothurn/Spital Grenchen soH, Solothurn, Switzerland
2 Osteoporosis Center, Department of Rheumatology and Institute of Physical Medicine, University Hospital of Zurich,Zurich, Switzerland

© 2010Goerres et al..

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Institute of Medical Radiology, Buergerspital Solothurn/Spital Grenchen soH, Solothurn, Switzerland; Tel: +41 (032) 627 4100; Fax: +41 (032) 6274125; E-mail:



This retrospective analysis was done to describe the difference in the prevalence of osteoporosis/low bone mass between women referring themselves to bone mineral density (BMD) testing with dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and women referred by their family practitioner.


Women were recruited by a health promotion action in a Swiss weekly periodical and compared with female patients sent by their physician for DXA testing for various medical indications during the same period. Patients under steroid treatment, known previous fracture and undergoing follow-up for low bone mass were excluded. Self referred women were compared to female patients aged 40 years and older and the same evaluation was repeated for women aged 65 and older.


No differences were found in the prevalence of osteoporosis /low bone mass in women referred by their physician vs those who were self referred. However, a significant difference was found with age: the self referred women were 63.1 ± 8.6 years of age whereas the patient group’s mean age was 59.7 ± 9.4 (p=0.0001, 95% CI of the difference: 21 – 61 years).


We suggest that health promotion actions might be able to recruit the correct candidates for BMD testing, since we found no significant difference in the prevalence of osteoporosis/ low bone mass between self referred and physician referred women. Our data further suggest that physicians may react earlier on their patient’s risk profiles than the time frame of action by the self-referred women.

Keywords: Osteoporosis, health promotion, dual X-ray absorptiometry.