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Osteoporos Int. 2001;12(1):16-23.

Lifetime and five-year age-specific risks of first and subsequent osteoporotic fractures in postmenopausal women.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Western Australia, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Nedlands, WA 6009, Australia.


We examined the incidence of fragility fractures in Australian women 50 years of age and over using a Markov process with Monte Carlo simulations. The lifetime risks and the risks of sustaining first and subsequent clinically diagnosed fractures at osteoporotic sites were estimated according to age, nursing home entry and mortality rates. Hip and spine fractures were evaluated individually and fractures of humerus, forearm, wrist, ribs, pelvis, upper leg (excluding proximal femur) and tibia/fibula were considered in combination. The model predicted that 42.1% of women aged 50 years will sustain at least one fracture in their remaining lifetime, of whom half are expected to sustain multiple fractures. The lifetime risks of sustaining hip, clinical spine and other fractures were 17.0%, 9.6% and 30.4%, with the risks of multiple fractures at these sites estimated at 19.5%, 39.7% and 35.7% respectively. The proportion of women expected to sustain their first fracture increased from 1.9% of the population under 55 years of age up to 49.1% of women over 89 years of age. The 5-year age-specific risks of sustaining any subsequent fractures increased from 2.8% of women under the age of 55 years to 61.6% for women age 89 years and over. The increased risks of new fractures following a first fracture lead to a considerable burden of multiple fractures.

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