Fracture Risk Assessment

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Fracture risk reduction is the main goal of treating osteoporosis, a condition which, in the absence of fragility fractures, is diagnosed by bone densitometry. Bone density, however, although an important factor predicting fracture risk, is not the only one and several other factors modulate the fracture risk such as the patient's age, body mass index, family history, cigarette smoking, medications and the risk of falling: most fractures are preceded by falls. When developing a treatment strategy it is therefore important to take into consideration other factors apart from bone density. Several algorithms and instruments are available for this purpose. The FRAX (Fracture Risk Assessment) tool developed under the aegis of the World Health Organization and the Garvan Fracture Risk Calculator are commonly used to estimate the patient's fracture risk. Both have advantages and limitations. It must be emphasized, however, that treatment decisions are clinical ones.