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Osteoporosis and the Increased Risk of Fractures in Women

Review on November 17, 2009

Osteoporosis replacement

Weakening of the bones is very common after the age of 50 and many women may find that osteoporosis increases the risk of bone fractures during this time. Osteoporosis can lead to painful and dangerous fractures which can disrupt a woman's life drastically and can be especially dangerous in old age when the body does not repair bone damage quickly. It's clear from prior research that fractures which occur post menopause increase the risk of future fractures drastically. However, until now very little research has been carried out to determine whether or not fractures which occur pre-menopause also increase the likelihood of postmenopausal fractures and this research aims to change that.

Research carried out in 2002 sort to find out if there was a connection between fractures from the ages of 20 to 50 and the increased risk of bone fractures post menopause. A group of 1284 women from Auckland, New Zealand took part in this cross-sectional study. The women had a mean age of 74 and all involved were at least 10 years post menopausal. Detailed questionnaires recorded the medical history of the subjects, including their fracture history, osteoporosis diagnosis and history of hormone replacement therapy use.

The results of this survey illustrate that while fractures obtained before the age of 20, reported by nine percent of the subjects, did not have a notable effect on the risk of fractures with osteoporosis. However, there was a notable increase in risk with women who had suffered from fractures between the ages of 20 to 50. Seven percent of the women recorded fractures between the ages of 20 and 50 while 29% of the women had suffered from some form of bone fracture during or after menopause. With these results researchers recorded an increased risk of 74% in those women who had suffered fractures earlier in their lives when compared with those who had not. Researchers were also keen to stress that age, maternal history of hip fractures, age at menopause, weight, history of hormone replacement therapy, osteoporosis diagnosis and smoking and alcohol histories were taken into consideration during this study with multivariate analysis.

This evidence is fairly decisive in its conclusions, fracture risk and osteoporosis are significantly raised in those women who suffer from bone fractures premenopause, when compared to those women who do not. This information will be vital to women who have suffered premenopausal fractures as they age. More stringent monitoring of bone density and osteoporosis could be undertaken along with important lifestyle changes to try and ensure that the risk of a fracture is reduced in these women as they grow old.


Sources:
  • PharmD, PhD, Lee, Euni; PharmD Zuckerman, Ilene H.; PhD Weiss, Sheila R. "Patterns of Pharmacotherapy and Counseling for Osteoporosis Management in Visits to US Ambulatory Care Physicians by Women." (2002). Arch Intern Med.