, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 1439-1443,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 28 Feb 2014

The clinical diagnosis of osteoporosis: a position statement from the National Bone Health Alliance Working Group

Abstract

Summary

Osteoporosis causes an elevated fracture risk. We propose the continued use of T-scores as one means for diagnosis but recommend that, alternatively, hip fracture; osteopenia-associated vertebral, proximal humerus, pelvis, or some wrist fractures; or FRAX scores with ≥3 % (hip) or 20 % (major) 10-year fracture risk also confer an osteoporosis diagnosis.

Introduction

Osteoporosis is a common disorder of reduced bone strength that predisposes to an increased risk for fractures in older individuals. In the USA, the standard criterion for the diagnosis of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and older men is a T-score of ≤ −2.5 at the lumbar spine, femur neck, or total hip by bone mineral density testing.

Methods

Under the direction of the National Bone Health Alliance, 17 clinicians and clinical scientists were appointed to a working group charged to determine the appropriate expansion of the criteria by which osteoporosis can be diagnosed.

Results

The group recommends that postmenopausal women and men aged 50 years should be diagnosed with osteoporosis if they have a demonstrable elevated risk for future fractures. This includes having a T-score of less than or equal to −2.5 at the spine or hip as one method for diagnosis but also permits a diagnosis for individuals in this population who have experienced a hip fracture with or without bone mineral density (BMD) testing and for those who have osteopenia by BMD who sustain a vertebral, proximal humeral, pelvic, or, in some cases, distal forearm fracture. Finally, the term osteoporosis should be used to diagnose individuals with an elevated fracture risk based on the World Health Organization Fracture Risk Algorithm, FRAX.

Conclusions

As new ICD-10 codes become available, it is our hope that this new understanding of what osteoporosis represents will allow for an appropriate diagnosis when older individuals are recognized as being at an elevated risk for fracture.