Fractures Before Menopause: A Red Flag for Physicians
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- Hosmer, W., Hosmer, W., Genant, H. et al. Osteoporos Int (2002) 13: 337. doi:10.1007/s001980200035
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There is substantial interest in the early identification of women at risk for osteoporotic fractures, so that preventive measures may be instituted early. We examined whether women with a history of fractures before menopause were at an increased risk of fractures after menopause. We obtained information about any lifetime fractures of the hip, arm, spine, wrist, leg, ankle, foot and finger from 9086 ambulatory white women ages 65 years and older participating in the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures. We also measured bone mineral density and recorded history of falls, maternal fracture history, drug use, diet, functional status, and other characteristics commonly associated with osteoporotic fractures. We used proportional hazards models to estimate the effects of fractures that occurred before menopause on the risk of fractures after menopause, in particular those that occurred during the 12 years of study follow-up. The risk of fractures of all types during the study period was greater among women with a premenopausal fracture of any type compared with women without a premenopausal fracture (hazard ratio (HR), 1.33; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.14–1.56; p<0.001). Adjustment for possible confounders, including bone mineral density, had only a modest effect (HR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.03–1.50; p<0.02). An increased risk of fracture among women with a premenopausal fracture was also seen after stratification by estrogen use, propensity to fall and maternal fracture history. Premenopausal fractures are therefore a risk factor for subsequent fractures independent of other risk factors for osteoporotic fractures, such as bone mineral density. A fracture history, including fractures before menopause, should be obtained when making decisions about preventive treatments.