FRAX, a new tool for estimating a person’s risk of fractures and bone breaks is in use by physicians at Summit Medical Group (SMG).
“As adults age, we lose bone mass, which can make bones fragile and prone to fracture and breaks,” notes Robert L. Rosenbaum, M.D., SMG endocrinologist. One of the more serious fractures is hip fracture. According to Prevention and Management of Osteoporosis, published by the World Health Organization (WHO), hip fractures kill one out of every five victims, and leave another fifty percent permanently disabled.
FRAX, or Fracture Risk Assessment, is an online assessment tool developed by the University of Sheffield, Sheffield, England and endorsed by the WHO. It estimates the 10-year probability of a hip or major osteoporotic fracture (spine, forearm, or shoulder) in patients, based on several risk factors. Patients for whom the FRAX tool is most effective are:
· Postmenopausal women or men age 50 and older
· People with osteopenia (low bone density)
· People who have not taken an osteoporosis medicine
Used in conjunction with a DXA (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) bone density scan, FRAX uses a patient’s low bone density score (a T-score), age, gender, low BMI, and additional information to predict their risk of breaking a bone in the next 10 years. Physicians and their patients can then use the results to discuss treatment options, which may have risks and side effects.
“FRAX makes decisions about beginning or delaying drug therapy for bone loss easier,” states Dr. Rosenbaum “Further, while people with osteoporosis are most often offered treatment options, risks and treatments for those with osteopenia have now become clearer with FRAX.”