Summary: Risk factors for osteoporotic fractures were evaluated in 1,396 men and women for a period of 20 years. Serum total cholesterol was found to be an independent osteoporotic fracture risk factor whose predictive power improves with time.
Introduction: The purpose of this study was to evaluate long-term risk factors for osteoporotic fracture.
Methods: A population random sample of men and women aged 25-64 years (the Gothenburg WHO MONICA project, N = 1,396, 53% women) was studied prospectively. The 1985 baseline examination recorded physical activity at work and during leisure time, psychological stress, smoking habits, coffee consumption, BMI, waist/hip ratio, blood pressure, total, HDL and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and fibrinogen. Osteoporotic fractures over a period of 20 years were retrieved from the Gothenburg hospital registers. Poisson regression was used to analyze the predictive power for osteoporotic fracture of each risk factor.
Results: A total number of 258 osteoporotic fractures occurred in 143 participants (10.2%). As expected, we found that previous fracture, smoking, coffee consumption, and lower BMI each increase the risk for osteoporotic fracture independently of age and sex. More unexpectedly, we found that the gradient of risk of serum total cholesterol to predict osteoporotic fracture significantly increases over time (p = 0.0377).
Conclusions: Serum total cholesterol is an independent osteoporotic fracture risk factor whose predictive power improves with time. High serum total cholesterol is a long-term cause of osteoporotic fracture.