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Elderly person fracture assessment “flawed”

An elderly person's risk of falling is too often overlooked when trying to prevent serious fractures, say experts writing in the British Medical Journal.

The authors say that if health professionals focused on a person's risk of falling rather than risk of disease osteoporosis, considerably more fractures would be prevented.

Elderly people are currently screened to see if they have osteoporosis via a bone density mass test and then treated accordingly.

However, the authors say that this test can often over or underestimate bone density, and this measure is therefore a poor predictor of whether a person is likely to suffer a bone fracture.

Falling, say the authors, is a major cause of nine in ten hip fractures and eight in ten fractures occur in people who do not even have osteoporosis.

The authors conclude that it is important for GPs to identify at-risk individuals and assess their needs as there is evidence that fall prevention efforts can reduce the incidence of falls by up to 50% in the elderly.


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