Background: Interest in the prevention of osteoporosis is increasing and thus there is a need for an acceptable osteoporosis prevention programme in general practice. AIM. A study was undertaken to identify a cohort of middle-aged women attending a general practice who would be eligible for a longitudinal study looking at bone mineral density, osteoporosis and the effectiveness of hormone replacement therapy. This study aimed to describe the relationship between medical and lifestyle risk factors for osteoporosis and the initial bone density measurements in this group of women. METHOD. A health visitor administered a questionnaire to women aged between 48 and 52 years registered with a Belfast general practice. The main outcome measures were menopausal status, presence of medical and lifestyle risk factors and bone mineral density measurements. RESULTS. A total of 358 women our of 472 (76%) took part in the study which was conducted in 1991 and 1992. A highly significant difference was found between the mean bone mineral density of premenopausal, menopausal and postmenopausal women within the narrow study age range, postmenopausal women having the lowest bone mineral density. A significant relationship was found between body mass index and bone mineral density, a greater bone mineral density being found among women with a higher body mass index. Risk factors such as smoking and sedentary lifestyle were common (reported by approximately one third of respondents) but a poor relationship was found between these two and all the other risk factors and bone mineral density in this age group. CONCLUSION. Risk of osteoporosis cannot be identified by the presence of risk factors in women aged between 48 and 52 years. In terms of a current prevention strategy for general practice it would be better to take a population-based approach except for those women known to be at high risk of osteoporosis: women with early menopause or those who have had an oophorectomy.
|Number of pages
|British Journal of General Practice
|Published - Jun 1995