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Fragility Fractures: Diagnosis and Treatment.

Fragility fractures are estimated to affect 3 million people annually in the United States. As they are associated with a significant mortality rate, the prevention of these fractures should be a priority for orthopedists. At-risk patients include the elderly and those with thyroid disease, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Osteoporosis is diagnosed by the presence of a fragility fracture or by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in the absence of a fragility fracture. In 2011, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended that all women ≥65 years should be screened for osteoporosis by DXA. Women <65 years with a 10-year fracture risk =∕> than that of a 65-year-old white woman should also be screened for osteoporosis. Lifestyle changes, such as calcium and vitamin D supplementation, exercise, and smoking cessation, are non-pharmacologic treatment options. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends treating osteoporosis with pharmacotherapy in patients with a high risk for fracture (T score <-2.5) or history of fragility fracture. Understanding risk factors and eliminating medications known to cause decreased BMD are vital to prevention and will be necessary to limit these fractures and their associated expenses in the future.

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