Fracture Prevention

Are you at risk from a fracture (breaking a bone)? A fracture can seriously reduce your mobility, quality of life and even your ability to live independently.

You may already have fractures, many older people “at risk” of fractures are unaware that they already have “crush fractures” in the spine. The signs include progressive back pain or curvature with loss of height.

UK health professionals including GP’s and hospital Consultants are using international assessment tools (FRAX and Qfracture) to assess the risk to their patients of fracture and the need for DXA scanning (measuring the strength/density of bones using a low dose x-ray scan).

Many factors increase our risk of fracture in both men and women, including current and past medication (particularly steroids and cancer treatments), family history, early menopause, previous fracture, low BMI (<19), our lifestyle (smoking, alcohol) and chronic conditions such as diabetes, coeliac, Rheumatoid Arthritis, hyperthyroidism and many more. The ultimate aim of fracture assessment and DXA scanning is to prevent fractures from occurring in the first place or to prevent further fractures from occurring in those that have already experienced a broken bone.

You can assess your own risk of fracture and need for DXA using the same tool as health care professionals worldwide - simply click the ‘Fracture risk tools’ tab above.

If fractures can be prevented, quality of life for individuals will be improved, admissions to hospital will decrease and NHS costs will be reduced.

Fractures can be prevented by identifying patients at risk through FRAX, Qfracture and DXA then giving education and medication to those at risk. Education includes nutritional, exercise, falls prevention and lifestyle advice. There are also medications available on prescription that build bone strength and reduce bone loss.