Ways to identify fracture risk

Three simple questions, together with information on age and BMI, can identify a nine-fold variation in the risk of hip fracture, according to UK research presented at the congress.

Professor John Kanis, from the Centre for Metabolic Bone Diseases at the University of Sheffield Medical School, said asking a patient if they had rheumatoid arthritis, taken oral steroids or had a previous fracture could help GPs determine their risk of fracture.

Asking a patient of 65 with a BMI of 24 these three questions could identify their risk for the next year, ranging from 1.5 per cent to 12.9 per cent.

Other risk factors include smoking, a high alcohol intake and family history.

'What is important in the development of a risk fracture score is that it can be readily used in primary care,' Professor Kanis said.

He is developing a risk fracture score with the WHO, which is expected to conflict with current NICE guidance. This relies initially on age and then on bone mineral density to determine who should receive treatment.

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