Screening to prevent fragility fractures
What are fragility fractures?
- Fragility fractures are breaks at the hip, spine, wrist and other areas after a fall that wouldn’t normally cause a break if bones were strong
- They are due to underlying weakened bone structure, also called low bone mineral density. Fragility fractures can lead to chronic pain, disability, hospitalization, need for long-term care and earlier death
- Screening should start with a risk assessment tool and may be followed by a bone mineral density (BMD) X-ray
A new guideline from the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care on screening to prevent fragility fractures recommends “risk assessment-first” screening for women 65 and older.
Should you be screened to help reduce the risk of fragility fractures?
- Females aged 65+ may be able to avoid fracture with screening and medication
- Screening is not recommended for females under 65 or males of any age
- Use the online Fragility Fracture Decision Aid to calculate your risk level. If your risk is low, medication won’t really change this.
- The decision aid can help you talk to your health care provider. It calculates your individual risk and the potential benefits and harms of medication.
- Women should know their risk and be supported as they decide about BMD testing and preventive treatment.
Find out more here.
Use the Fragility Fracture Decision Aid for shared decision-making to calculate your risk.
Who is the guideline for?
- Adults aged 40+ who live independently in the community
- It is not for people already taking prescription medication to prevent fragility fractures