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 age.
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.