Specialty-trained osteoporosis expert, Seth Coren, M.D., recently had an article published in the New York Times. Dr. Coren discusses the problem with recurrent fractures being one that affects many people particularly those over 50. The fractures that the below article refers to is very often called sentinel fractures. These fractures may not seem to be life-threatening, but wrist fractures and fractures about the shoulder and ankle and pelvis can often signal that more significant problem is present, that is osteoporosis. Therefore, it is prudent if you are over 50 and particularly if you are postmenopausal that you should be evaluated for the possibility of osteoporosis. This is the best time to improve your bone health rather than waiting to you have full blown osteoporosis.
The evaluation is relatively simple and it involves an evaluation by someone who specializes in osteoporosis. It usually involves a bone density examination-DEXA scan, and an evaluation including a FRAX evaluation, which takes into account underlying genetic and issues such as alcohol intake, smoking, and family history to name a few.
If you have had hip fracture or spine fracture, then it is mandatory that you get a follow-up evaluation for osteoporosis because the incidence of refracture particularly in the spine is significant over the first two years. Hip fractures carry with them a potential morbidity and mortality of 20 to 30% in the first year after hip fracture.