You may have heard about FRAX®, a fracture risk assessment system from the World Health Organization (WHO) that was released in March 2008. It lets an individual enter their risk factors (for example, having broken a bone, being a smoker or on a steroid medication) as well as bone mineral density (BMD) at the hip. The FRAX tool then calculates the 10-year risk of hip fracture and the 10-year risk of a major osteoporotic fracture (spine, forearm, hip or shoulder fracture).
Since 2008 over 20 countries have had their FRAX tools added to the website. Different FRAX tools are needed for each country because fracture rates are very different, even between Canada and the United States.
Osteoporosis Canada has been working to obtain the data needed to develop a Canadian FRAX model. The Canadian FRAX tool is now available on the FRAX website and as an iPhone application. The 2010 Osteoporosis Canada Best Practices Guidelines, scheduled for release later this year, will guide physicians and patients on how FRAX might be used in making decisions about osteoporosis treatment. Until then, the Canadian FRAX tool is of interest as an educational tool.
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