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Bone. 2002 Jul;31(1):102-6.

Reduced bone mineral density in postmenopausal women self-reporting premenopausal wrist fractures.

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  • 1INSERM Unit 349, Hôpital Lariboisière, Paris, France.


Postmenopausal fractures are associated with low bone mass; however, the role of low peak bone mass in young adults in determining subsequent osteoporosis suggests that premenopausal fractures may also be relevant. We therefore sought to determine whether a self-reported previous history of premenopausal wrist and nonwrist fractures could also be associated with bone density and therefore be used to predict osteoporosis. We recruited 453 volunteer women with a median age of 64 years (range 50-83 years), with no metabolic bone disease, previous femoral neck fracture, or prevalent vertebral fracture. Bone density at the femoral neck (FN) and lumbar spine (LS) was measured using a Lunar DPX-L. As expected, the 319 women who did not report any fracture had a higher T score at LS (-0.93 +/- 1.44) than the 134 women who reported a previous fracture at any site and at any age (T score -1.60 +/- 1.21, p < 0.001). The findings for the FN were similar. Compared with fracture-free women, the women who reported a first wrist fracture before menopause now had a lower LS T score (-1.77 +/- 1.20, n = 15, p < 0.05), whereas those who reported a nonwrist fracture showed no significant decrease in their LS T score (-1.26 +/- 1.00, n = 36). When both wrist and nonwrist fractures had occurred after menopause, the T score was significantly lower. Twenty percent of the fracture-free women were osteoporosis patients. After adjusting for body weight, age, hormonal replacement therapy (HRT), and hip fracture in the family, the relative risk (RR) of osteoporosis for premenopausal wrist fractures was 2.7 (95% confidence interval 1.4-4.3) vs. 1.2 (0.7-2.4) for women with premenopausal nonwrist fractures. We conclude that self-reported premenopausal wrist fractures, but no other fractures occurring before menopause, are likely to be associated with osteoporosis at 65 years of age, and therefore constitute strong grounds for screening.

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