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History of Falls Predicts Future Fractures in Postmenopausal Women

Earlier injurious falls predicted future fractures but not major osteoporotic fractures

THURSDAY, Jan. 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) — A history of falls, especially injurious falls, predicts subsequent fractures in postmenopausal women, according to a study recently published in Osteoporosis International.

Nadia Afrin, M.P.H., from the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio, and colleagues evaluated if a history of falls predicts future postmenopausal fractures and if this prediction varies according to the frequency, mechanism, and severity of falls or site of fractures. The analysis included 8,744 postmenopausal women (mean age, 62.2 years) surveyed at baseline in 1999 and again in 2004.

The researchers found that 19.4 percent of women reported a fall during the preceding 12 months at the baseline survey. Falls included 812 slip falls, 654 nonslips, 379 injurious falls, and 1,308 noninjurious falls. During follow-up, 811 women (9.3 percent) sustained a fracture; of these women, 431 had major osteoporotic fractures and 380 had other fractures. Earlier falls predicted subsequent fractures compared with nonfallers (odds ratio [OR], 1.41 [95 percent confidence interval (CI), 1.19 to 1.67; P ≤ 0.001]; earlier slip falls: OR, 1.43 [95 percent CI, 1.14 to 1.80; P = 0.002]; earlier nonslip falls: OR, 1.35 [95 percent CI, 1.04 to 1.74; P = 0.02]). Future fractures were also predicted by earlier injurious falls (OR, 1.64; 95 percent CI, 1.21 to 2.23; P ≤ 0.01), especially other fractures (OR, 1.86; 95 percent CI, 1.24 to 2.80; P ≤ 0.01), but not major osteoporotic fractures (OR, 1.37; 95 percent CI, 0.89 to 2.10; P = 0.151). Earlier noninjurious falls increased the risk for future falls (OR, 1.36; 95 percent CI, 1.12 to 1.64; P = 0.002). Findings were similar even after adjusting for other factors.

“These findings are relevant in improving screening and prevention strategies for fractures,” the authors write.

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