It’s the holidays. Food is everywhere and many of us are eating too much of it. It could increase your risk of a broken hip. I wrote in an earlier blog that the holiday season’s weight gain is often never lost. But a new study showed that especially for women in menopause who have diabetes, those with poor control of their blood sugar are much more likely to break their hip.
The study investigated a medical tool called FRAX. FRAX is an acronym that stands for Fracture Risk Assessment Tool. It uses algorithms based on a person’s clinical risk plus their bone mineral density results. FRAX was created by the World Health Organization (WHO) using populations of people to get an idea of what bone fracture outcomes to expect and placed on the Web to help doctors predict a person’s 10-year probability of breaking their hip or fracturing their hip, spine, forearm or shoulder due to osteoporosis. If you are in menopause, especially if you are not on HRT, chances are your doctor uses FRAX to assess your bone fracture risk.
But a new study from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada showed that FRAX, the most widely used tool out there for interpreting bone fracture risk, isn’t accurate enough. FRAX seriously underestimates the risk of a woman getting a hip fracture.
If you have diabetes, FRAX is an even a worse predictor of a broken bone. People with diabetes have a 59 percent increased risk of having a hip fracture. The study also found that even though people with diabetes were at increased risk for a hip fracture, they were less likely to be taking a medication to prevent one. Those under age 65 had a 5.3-fold increased risk of hip fracture and those over 65 had a 2.1-fold increased risk.
And here is the scary part. In another recent study from the Netherlands, women with diabetes had an increased risk of hip fracture even if their bone mineral density test looked normal – if their blood sugar was poorly controlled.
So here are three things you need to know.
- At age 50, it’s important to get a bone density test to find out if you are at risk for a broken bone due to osteoporosis (brittle bones).
- Ask your doctor if he/she uses FRAX. If so, your risk may be even higher than your test score suggests.
- If you have diabetes, you have an increased risk of a hip fracture, especially if you don’t control your blood sugar.