Dr. Siris explains how fracture risks are evaluated.
In recent years, doctors have primarily looked at a woman’s age and her bone density. But just in February 2008 the World Health Organization gave us a new fracture risk assessment tool which is called Frax and this involves a doctor asking you a set of very easy and specific questions including your age and your gender and how much you weigh and how tall you are, whether or not you’re a smoker, whether you have a condition called rheumatoid arthritis, whether either of your parents has ever broken a hip, whether you personally have broken a bone as an adult, whether you take Prednisone, Cortisone what are called gluco corticoids and you can take the answers to these questions which are just ‘yes/no’, plug them into a little equation and come up with your ten year risk for fracture.
I should add that your doctor also puts into this little equation your score at the hip from a bone density testing you will have had. So combining your bone density result and the answers to these risk factor questions, we can actually calculate your risk in the next ten years of a hip fracture and your risk in the next ten years of other major fractures and based on how much risk you are at, your doctor may choose to go beyond just calcium D and exercise and actually put you on medication to lower that risk. We have drugs that will lower that risk if it’s too high.
About Dr. Ethel Siris, M.D.:
Dr. Ethel S. Siris is the Director at the Toni Stabile Osteoporosis Center, Columbia University, is the Madeline C. Stabile Professor of Medicine at Columbia University, and is the immediate past-President for the National Osteoporosis Foundation. She is board certified in endocrinology and internal medicine, focusing on osteoporosis, metabolic bone disease, and bone and mineral metabolism.