April 9, 2010 -- Many of the 8 million women in the United States who have
osteoporosis don’t recognize that they are at increased risk for fractures, a
new study finds.
More than 60,000 postmenopausal women from 10 countries in Europe, North
America, and Australia were asked to assess their fracture risk. Some of the
women had osteoporosis and others did not.
The survey revealed that 43% of women with a diagnosis of osteoporosis
perceived their fracture risk to be no higher than that of other women their
And only about a third of women who reported two or more major risk factors
for fracture considered themselves to be at higher than average fracture risk
for their age group.
About half of women will experience an osteoporosis-related fracture after
age 50, but many older women either don’t know they have osteoporosis or don’t
understand what the diagnosis means, says lead researcher Ethel Siris, MD, who
directs New York-Presbyterian Hospital’s osteoporosis center.
“Part of the problem is that clinicians are not doing adequate risk
assessment and part of the problem is that women have not been educated about
how to recognize their own fracture risks,” Siris tells WebMD.