We all know that prevention is the best medicine. But with so many potential diseases and ailments able to beset us as we age, sometimes it's hard to know where to target our efforts. Screenings can help you determine what issues you need to be most concerned about so that you can focus your prevention tactics accordingly. A research study in the UK found great success by providing screenings to women at risk for a certain - potentially deadly - problem.
For this study, published in The Lancet, researchers at the University of East Anglia recruited over 12,000 women between the ages of 70 and 85 to participate in a study screening for risk of hip fracture. Hip fractures in this age group can be deadly. In fact, one year after a hip fracture, approximately one-fifth of the patients will have passed away. And less than one-third of older people who suffer a hip fracture ever fully recover. The loss of independence that comes with such a fracture can be devastating for someone used to meeting their own needs.
For this study, the researchers had half of the women participate in a screening process called FRAX, in which they used a questionnaire combined with bone mineral density testing to identify the likelihood of a hip or major osteoporotic fracture. The other women received routine care as usual. The FRAX method allowed the researchers to identify a woman who was at a particularly high risk for a hip fracture. Then, once these women were identified, they started them on a preventive program designed to reduce their risk. By the end of the five-year study, 54 fewer women in the FRAX group had fractured their hips than in the routine care group.
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The researchers believe that the FRAX process could prevent one hip fracture for every 111 women screened. Since the testing process is simple, they are confident this could be a useful tool for women and their doctors going forward. You can use the FRAX method online at https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/FRAX/ to calculate your risk. All you need to do is to have the results of a recent bone mineral density test, and answer a few questions.
If your score indicates that you're a high-risk candidate, it's better off knowing it now than finding it out the hard way. I've written plenty about natural strategies for fighting osteoporosis and keeping your bones strong as you age. Some of my favorites are bio-identical hormone restoration therapy, the Power Plate, Ultimate Bone Support, moderate exercise, vitamin K2/D3, and vitamin C. You can find more information about all of these methods in the archives. In fact, if you're a woman over 50, I recommend you live an osteoporosis-fighting lifestyle whether or not a screening tells you you're at risk of a hip fracture. These fractures have such an impact on quality of life that it's just not worth taking a chance you'll suffer one.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD