The new guidelines make use of a computer program developed by World Health Organization (WHO). By analyzing a person's bone mass density and nine personal factors such as weight, race, history of fractures, and gender, the program can estimate the individual's 10−year fracture risk due to low bone mass. This will "help identify high−risk subgroups of men and non−Caucasian women and, we hope, a wider population of patients at risk for osteoporosis will be treated," said Bess Dawson−Hughes, M.D., director of the Bone Metabolism Laboratory at Tufts University and chair the committee responsible for the new guidelines.
Men over 50 and post−menopausal African−American, Asian, and Latina women also need to have their bone density watched.
An economic analysis done by Dawson−Hughes and her colleagues found that treating people with low bone mass who have a 3 percent or greater 10−year risk of hip fracture or a 20 percent or greater risk of other major fracture is more cost−effective than waiting for a fracture to occur. In addition, preventing fractures in older people significantly improves their quality of life.
It is hoped that the new guidelines will expand awareness, prevention, and treatment of osteoporosis in previously under−recognized groups. The new guidelines also recommend: