Postmenopausal osteoporosis is a skeletal disorder in which bone strength has weakened to a point that bone is fragile and at higher risk of fracture. Women undergo a rapid bone loss around the time of menopause due to hormonal changes. This bone loss slows down during the postmenopausal years, but does not stop completely. One in two women over age 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in her lifetime.
Now there is a new Fracture Risk Assessment Tool (FRAX®) for evaluating fracture risk. FRAX was developed by the World Health Organization to evaluate a patient’s 10-year probability of hip fracture and major osteoporotic fracture (clinical spine, forearm, hip, or shoulder fracture). Previously, clinicians could only estimate a 5-year fracture risk.
The assessment is available online. Choose Calculation Tool and select the appropriate category. Please
note that it is valid only for post-menopausal women age 40 and older who are not currently taking a prescription medication for osteoporosis.
Taking multiple risk factors into account allows the FRAX formula to make a better estimate of risk for fracture than past methods. In the near future, these results will be incorporated into the standard bone density test results.
There are also several preventive steps women can take to avoid osteoporosis and resulting fractures or to keep osteoporosis from worsening.
Visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation.