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2nd Fracture Risk Same in Men as Women

But Not Enough of Either Sex Gets Osteoporosis Treatment After a Break

44 Million Americans at Risk continued...

A total of 905 women and 337 men experienced at least one osteoporosis-related fracture during that time; and 253 women and 71 men had a subsequent fracture.

The risk of having a second fracture was found to be similar for women and men. Within 10 years of experiencing a first fracture, 40% of surviving women in the study and 60% of surviving men had a second fracture.

The highest risks were seen among people who had experienced hip and spinal fractures. The most common sites of fractures related to bone weakening are the hips, spine, wrist, and ribs.

Treatment Rates Still Low

The Australian study did not examine the impact of osteoporosis treatment on fracture rates. But previous research suggests that such treatment can reduce the risk of a second fracture by half, Center says.

Greater use of osteoporosis drugs could have a huge impact on the at-risk elderly population, rheumatologist and epidemiologist Daniel Solomon, MD, MPH, of Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, tells WebMD.

“About 50% of people who have hip fractures lose their independence as a result, and many of them end up in nursing homes,” Solomon says.

Three years ago, Solomon and colleagues reported that as few as one in five people who had had osteoporosis-related hip or wrist fractures received treatment to help prevent future fractures.

Their latest analysis suggests that more high-risk patients are being treated, but Solomon says treatment rates are still far too low.

Now, only about 30% of patients are started on osteoporosis drugs after suffering a hip fracture related to bone weakening, and only about one in 10 hip fracture patients in nursing homes receive treatment, he says.

“Virtually every guideline says that people who have had an [osteoporosis-related] fracture should be on treatment, but, for whatever reason, that isn’t happening,” he says.

“It doesn’t make sense because these treatments work," says Solomon. "They reduce future fractures and can have a big impact on morbidity and mortality.”

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