Know your fracture risks – Jo

Jo Swinson MP underwent a fracture risk assessment in Parliament earlier this month to raise awareness of broken bones caused by osteoporosis. Fractures can be a major health concern with more broken bones occurring in the UK annually than heart attacks or strokes. 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men will suffer a fracture after the age of 50.

Three million people in theUKhave osteoporosis, a long-term condition which causes fragile bones and can lead to painful and disabling fractures in both men and women. There is an average of 21 hip fracture related deaths every year in each constituency following a hip fracture.

Jo underwent a FRAX fracture risk assessment, which has been developed by a group of Sheffield-based clinicians and endorsed by the World Health Organisation. FRAX is a web-based tool which can determine the 10-year probabilities of suffering a hip and other major fragility fracture. The calculation is based on answers to a simple online questionnaire. The event was organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Osteoporosis Group (APPOG).

The FRAX assessment takes a few minutes to complete. It can help to identify those people who may require further assessment (which may include a DXA scan) and bone-protecting treatment. Gold standard services, called Fracture Liaison Services (FLSs), ensure that all older people who break a bone are assessed. They also make sure that patients are prescribed bone-protecting treatments where needed. They are nurse-centred and can be based in hospitals or GP surgeries. FLSs are proven to prevent future fractures, deliver net cost savings for the NHS by reducing hospital admissions and help to keep older people well for longer. Three quarters of the Scottish population currently have access to these services; however, a number are coming under threat from NHS spending cuts.

Commenting Jo said:

“Fractures can have a devastating impact on people’s lives, particularly older people who can lose their independence, quality of life and even their home following a debilitating hip fracture. It is vitally important that people with an increased risk of fractures are getting the treatment they need to protect their bones and hopefully prevent a future fracture from ever occurring.

“The FRAX tool is a quick and easy way of predicting fracture risk. Anyone can do the test online by typing FRAX into a search engine and completing the online assessment. If you are worried about fractures or osteoporosis, or concerned that a friend or family member may be at risk, make an appointment to see your GP.”

Further information

  • 250,000 people have osteoporosis in Scotland.
  • The FRAX tool has been developed by the World Health Organisation to evaluate fracture risk of patients. It is based on individual patient models that integrate the risks associated with clinical risk factors as well as bone mineral density at the hip. The output is a 10-year probability of hip fracture and the 10-year probability of another major fragility fracture (spine, forearm, hip or shoulder fracture).
  • The online FRAX risk assessment tool can be accessed at
  • The aim of FRAX is to reduce the number of people who experience fracture due to osteoporosis. Those at the highest risk of fracture should be able to access treatment more easily and younger women and men at risk of fracture will also benefit.
  • The All-Party Parliamentary Osteoporosis Group was established to raise awareness of osteoporosis in Parliament. The National Osteoporosis Society provides the secretariat to the Group.
  • The National Osteoporosis Society is the onlyUKwide charity dedicated to improving the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
  • The National Osteoporosis Society is calling for Fracture Liaison Services (FLSs) to be linked to every hospital that receives fragility fractures in theScotland, to ensure that every fragility fracture patient gets the treatment and care they need.
  • Glasgow has had a city-wide FLS since 2002, which operates in conjunction with a falls prevention service; the FLS was expanded to include the neighbouring Clyde region in 2009; studies on hip fracture incidence in the Greater Glasgow area show that between 1998 and 2008, the number of recorded hip fractures decreased by 7.3%.
  • The UK Department of Health estimates that an FLS serving a population of approximately 320,000 people will prevent 33 fragility fractures over a five-year period.
  • FLSs also save public money in local communities; over a five-year period, an FLS will cost £234,181 to set up and maintain; in the same period, it will save £290,708 in treatment and care costs from averted fractures; this represents a net saving of £56,527.
  • Despite the proven success of FLS, such as the highly effective service inGlasgow, not all fracture patients inScotlandhave access to them.

For more information about osteoporosis, bone health and the work of the National Osteoporosis Society, please contact Siobhan Hallmark, Press Officer on 01761 473101 or [email protected]

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