Osteoporosis Patients Underestimate Fracture Risk
Survey Finds That 43% With Osteoporosis Consider Fracture Risk Normal
WebMD News Archive
Few Women Understand Fracture Risk continued...
The survey’s main goal was to explore women’s knowledge of the risk factors
that increased their likelihood of getting a fracture, Siris says.
Risk factors include:
- Being postmenopausal. Estrogen helps protect bone, and its loss at
menopause is associated with bone weakening.
- Being female. Osteoporosis does affect men, but about 80% of cases occur in
- Being small-framed or thin
- Having a parent who has had a hip fracture
- Breaking a bone after age 45
- Having a sedentary lifestyle, smoking cigarettes, or abusing alcohol
- Taking steroids or certain other medications
- Having a history of certain diseases and conditions, including rheumatoid
arthritis, anorexia nervosa, and some gastrointestinal disorders
Osteoporosis: ‘Fractures Beget Fractures’
Women over 50 who have any of these risk factors should discuss bone mineral
density testing with their doctor, says Siris, who is past president of the
National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF).
NOF clinical director Felicia Cosman, MD, tells WebMD that the biggest
single risk factor for osteoporosis-related fracture is having a previous
fracture after the age of 45.
“In older adults, any fracture that occurs in the absence of major trauma
should be considered an osteoporosis-related fracture,” she says. “Because
these are the people at highest risk for having more fractures, the emphasis
should be on making sure they get the treatment they need.”
Cosman points out that hip fractures are the most common reason for nursing
According to NOF:
- 20% of people who are able to walk normally before a hip fracture
require long-term care afterward.
- Six months after a hip fracture, only 15% of patients can walk across a
- Two to three times more women get hip fractures, compared to men; but men
are twice as likely to die within a year of fracturing a hip.
“Fractures beget more fractures,” Cosman says. “If we can interrupt this
dramatic domino effect of one fracture leading to another, we can really
improve quality of life among older people.”
Siris and most other investigators listing in the study reported receiving
consulting fees or research and salary support from companies that market