Australian adults can now assess their bone fracture risk using a tool that aims to address figures showing there will be a new broken bone in Australia every 3.4 minutes.
The Osteoporosis Australia data also found that more than 155,000 fractures will occur Australia-wide this year.
Osteoporosis Australia chief executive Dr Greg Lyubomirsky said Australians should regard these new fracture figures as a public health warning.
“Two-thirds of Australians aged 50 and above have poor bone health and many don’t know it, even when they have obvious risk factors, or have experienced a previous fracture,” Lyubomirsky said. “Unfortunately, only about 20 per cent of those women who sustain a fracture and go to hospital are either treated or properly investigated for osteoporosis. Even fewer men are followed up on appropriately.”
The not-for-profit organisation has partnered with Garvan Institute of Medical Research to launch the Know Your Bones online tool, designed to help consumers understand their bone fracture risk and follow up with a GP.
The tool summarises bone fracture risk by assessing age, gender, weight, history of fracture, bone mineral density and history of falls and lifestyle factors within the previous 12 months. Users will also have access to a simple summary of their fracture risk, which they can take to their GP for further discussion.
Professor Jacqueline Center, from the Garvan Institute for Medical Research, said the Know Your Bones project is based on research from the 26-year-long Dubbo Osteoporosis Epidemiology Study, led by researchers from the institute’s bone biology division.
“The Dubbo study has confirmed that both men and women are affected by osteoporosis, and that bone loss continues in older age,” Center said. “The study has also revealed that once you fracture a bone as a result of poor bone health, the risk of breaking another bone doubles in women, and increases three-to-four fold in men. Furthermore, there is a strong link between all major fractures and premature death.
“This study has allowed us to understand a person’s risk of fracture based on a combination of factors, which we have incorporated into the Know Your Bones self-assessment tool.”
The federal minister for health, Sussan Ley, said the tool was a great example of how medical research could be translated into a real community’s benefit, allowing anyone to better understand their own risk of fractures.
“I encourage all adults to take a few minutes out of one day, jump online and complete the Know Your Bones assessment,” Ley said.
The Know Your Bones tool can be found here.Do you have an idea for a story?
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