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J Clin Epidemiol. 1999 Mar;52(3):243-9.

Fracture risk in the U.S. Medicare population.

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Department of Community and Family Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, New Hampshire 03756, USA.


Using data from the 5% U.S. Medicare sample, we estimated the actuarial (life table) risk that a person aged 65 will fracture the upper or lower limbs or the pelvis, by age 75, 80, 85, and 90, taking into account the chance of dying in the interval. The actuarial risk of a 65-year old white woman sustaining a fracture by age 90 is 16% for the hip, 9% for distal forearm, 5% for proximal humerus, and 4% for ankle. Black women and white men have substantially lower risks, and the risks for black men are very low. Although hip fractures pose the single greatest risk, the risk of all other fractures combined is greater. White women have particularly high risks for all fractures, because of their longevity as well as their high fracture rates. It is important to adjust for the probability of dying when estimating risks in an elderly population.

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