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03-16-2008, 08:04 PM
The National Osteoporosis Society welcomes the launch of FRAX(TM), the new fracture risk assessment tool from the World Health Organisation which could have a huge impact in reducing the number of people who break bones because of osteoporosis.

FRAX™ is a fracture risk assessment tool which indicates an individual's risk of having a fracture in the next ten years. It relies on a combination of risk factors, such as bone density, age and parental history of hip fracture, to calculate a person's absolute risk of fracture over the next ten year period.

FRAX™ will generate two results: the first will indicate someone's risk of experiencing a hip fracture and the other will indicate the risk of suffering another major fracture (for example, of the wrist or spine). With more than a thousand people dying every month as a result of hip fractures, FRAX™ could have a dramatic impact in improving vital preventative care.

Nick Rijke, Public and External Affairs Director at the National Osteoporosis Society says:

''This is a terrific tool which will give health professionals a more sophisticated, yet simple way of identifying patients most at risk of serious fractures. However, to make the most of FRAX™, the tool needs to be incorporated into guidance provided to the health service by NICE. Patients should not have to wait years for this. We want to see this practical tool in widespread use within months.''

The National Osteoporosis Society is the only UK charity dedicated to improving the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.


1. Absolute risk is your risk of developing a disease over a time-period. We all have absolute risks of developing various diseases such as osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, stroke, etc. The same absolute risk can be expressed in different ways. For example, if you have a 1 in 10 risk of developing a certain disease in your life, this can also be said a 10% risk, or a 0.1 risk - depending if you use percentages or decimals.

2. In the UK, one in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 will break a bone mainly because of osteoporosis.

3. Three million people have, or are at risk of osteoporosis in the UK.

4. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently developing a suite of guidance on osteoporosis.

5. Osteoporosis literally means porous bones. The bones in our skeleton are made of a thick outer shell and a strong inner mesh filled with collagen (protein), calcium salts and other minerals. The inside looks like honeycomb, with blood vessels and bone marrow in the spaces between bone. Osteoporosis occurs when the holes between bone become bigger, making it fragile and liable to break easily.

6. Osteoporosis can affect many bones in the skeleton and it commonly causes breaks (fractures) to bones in the wrist, spine and hip.

7. The risk of developing osteoporosis can be reduced by taking plenty of weight bearing exercise and eating a healthy balanced calcium rich diet throughout life.

National Osteoporosis Society (http://www.nos.org.uk/)