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Challenges of fracture risk assessment in Asian and Black women

Bone mineral density (BMD) and fracture risk calculators (eg, the Fracture Risk Assessment Tool [FRAX]) guide primary prevention care in postmenopausal women. BMD scores use non-Hispanic White (NHW) reference data for T-score classification, whereas FRAX incorporates BMD, clinical risk factors, and population differences when calculating risk. This study compares findings among Asian, Black, and NHW women who underwent osteoporosis screening in a US health care system. Retrospective cross-sectional study. Asian, Black, and NHW women aged 65 to 75 years who underwent BMD testing (with no recent fracture, osteoporosis therapy, metastatic cancer, multiple myeloma, metabolic bone disorders, or kidney replacement therapy) were compared across the following measures: femoral neck BMD (FN-BMD) T-score (normal ≥ -1, osteoporosis ≤ -2.5), high FRAX 10-year hip fracture risk (FRAX-Hip ≥ 3%), FRAX risk factors, and diabetes status. Among 3640 Asian women, 23.8% had osteoporosis and 8.7% had FRAX-Hip scores of at least 3% (34.5% among those with osteoporosis). Among 11,711 NHW women, 12.3% had osteoporosis and 17.2% had FRAX-Hip scores of at least 3% (84.8% among those with osteoporosis). Among 1711 Black women, 68.1% had normal FN-BMD, 4.1% had BMD-defined osteoporosis, and 1.8% had FRAX-Hip scores of at least 3% (32.4% among those with osteoporosis). Fracture risk factors differed by group. Diabetes was 2-fold more prevalent in Black and Asian (35% and 36%, respectively) vs NHW (16%) women. A large subset of Asian women have discordant BMD and FRAX scores, presenting challenges in osteoporosis management. Furthermore, FN-BMD and especially FRAX scores identified few Black women at high fracture risk warranting treatment. Studies should examine whether fracture risk assessment can be optimized in understudied racial minority populations, particularly when findings are discordant.

Authors: Lo, Joan C;Chandra, Malini;Yang, Wei;Thompson, Nailah;Lee, Catherine;Ramaswamy, Mohan;Khan, Mehreen;Wheeler, Amber

Am J Manag Care. 2024 Mar;30(3):140-144.

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