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Most women unaware of risk for debilitating fractures
Date:4/2/2010

addition to the human suffering associated with these fractures, they are also the source of enormous health care costs.

Improved education of both physicians and postmenopausal women about osteoporosis risk factors is urgently needed, according to the study authors. Osteoporosis causes bones to become fragile and therefore more likely to break. If left untreated, the disease can progress painlessly until a fracture occurs. Several risk factors for fractures have been identified and should be considered by physicians treating women age 55 and over:

  • older age
  • low weight
  • parental hip fracture
  • personal history of fracture (clavicle, arm, wrist, spine, rib, hip, pelvis, upper leg, lower leg, ankle) since age 45
  • two or more falls in the past year
  • current use of cortisone or prednisone (steroids often prescribed for a number of medical conditions)
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • cigarette smoking
  • consumption of three or more alcoholic beverages daily.

Other risk factors include a variety of medical conditions and medications. Although tools for diagnosis and risk assessment, including bone density testing and the World Health Organization FRAX fracture risk assessment tool, are widely available, the connection between identified risk factors and serious fracture outcomes is not being made by a majority of women who are at the highest risk. Since many fractures can be prevented by appropriate treatment, it is important that elevated risk be recognized.

"We hope the insight we obtain from GLOW will help physicians and patients work together to both identify those at risk for fracture and to enhance understanding of the meaning of that risk," said Dr. Siris. "Education is critical if we are to reduce the burden of fractures worldwide."


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Contact: Alison Duffy
alison.duffy@umassmed.edu
508-856-2000
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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