, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 229-236

Fracture risk assessment in postmenopausal women

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Abstract

Patients with osteoporosis have an increased risk of sustaining fractures because of the low bone mineral density (BMD) and altered bone micro-architecture which are characteristic features of the disease. Although a good correlation exists between BMD and fracture risks, many other factors influence this relationship. While there is consensus that patients with osteoporosis should be investigated and treated, the issue is much less clear for patients with osteopenia. Because osteopenia is so prevalent, it would be unrealistic to treat all patients with this condition. Therefore, there is a need to identify those patients who are at risk of sustaining a fracture and would benefit most from the available therapy. Providing treatment to the appropriate risk group would not only reduce the number of fractures, but could also reduce the adverse effects associated with treatment, as treating patients earlier could shorten the treatment time. The availability of tools to select patients at risk of fracture should change the impact of the disease.