New Guidelines for Osteoporosis Tests
Older Men and Younger Men With Risk Factors Should Get Bone Density Test
WebMD News Archive
Assessing Fracture Risk continued...
The WHO model is designed to determine a person's risk of suffering a
fracture within 10 years, based on the results of bone density testing and risk
The new guidelines call for treatment to be offered to anyone with low bone
mass and whose 10-year risk for suffering a hip fracture exceeds 3% or whose
risk for any fracture related to bone loss exceeds 20%, Siris says.
"That doesn't mean people should not be treated if their risk does not
meet this threshold," Siris says. "But it makes it very clear that
above this threshold it is medically proper and cost-effective to treat these
Fractures related to osteoporosis and bone loss cost the U.S. health care
system an estimated $17 billion in 2005, and this cost is projected to double
or even triple over the next 20 to 30 years as the population ages.
Having better ways of identifying patients who would benefit from treatment
could save health care dollars by reducing fractures and allowing low-risk
patients to avoid unnecessary treatments, Siris says.
Reducing Your Risk
Although men have a lower risk for osteoporosis-related fractures than
women, their risk is far from insignificant.
One in five men will experience an osteoporosis-related fracture in his
lifetime, compared with one out of two white women, according to the surgeon
Recommendations cited in the NOF report to help postmenopausal women and men
over 50 reduce their osteoporosis risk include:
- Make sure you get at least 1,200 milligrams per day of calcium and 800 to
1,000 international units of vitamin D.
- Engage in regular weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercise to
reduce the risk for falls and fractures.
- If you smoke, stop. And if you drink alcohol, don't drink too much.
- Know your osteoporosis risk factors and follow your doctor's advice with
regard to testing and treatment.