Objective: To examine the associations between potential risk factors and fractures in perimenopausal women.
Subjects: A total of 3,140 women (mean age 53.4 +/- 2.8 (s.d.) years) were followed-up for 2.4 years after axial bone densitometry (lumbar spine and femoral neck) with regard to the occurrence of fractures.
Results: In all, 5.6% of the women sustained a fracture. There were 169 low energy fractures (falling on a level surface) in 157 women after the exclusion of 18 fractures caused by a high energy trauma. The wrist was the most frequent site of fracture (n = 46). Lumbar bone mineral density was 5.8% lower and femoral bone mineral density 4.6% lower among fracture cases compared with non-fracture cases (p < 0.0001). History of a fracture during 1980-1989 elevated the risk of all fractures 2.83-fold (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.95-4.10) and the risk of a first wrist fracture 2.25-fold (95% CI 1.10-4.62). The amount of weekly alcohol intake was higher among fracture cases than among non-fracture cases yielding an age-adjusted odds ratio (OR) of 1.45 (95% CI 1.05-2.02). Past or present use of hormone replacement therapy was protective against fractures (age-adjusted OR 0.70, 95% CI 0.50-0.96). If bilateral oophorectomy had been carried out under the age of 45 years, the risk of fracture was 3.64-fold (95% CI 1.01-13.04) compared with women operated upon after the age of 45 years. Age at menarche, parity, lactation and smoking history did not differ between the fracture and non-fracture groups.
Conclusions: A former history of fractures, low baseline bone mineral density (BMD) and use of alcohol are predisposing factors associated with perimenopausal fractures, while hormone replacement therapy is protective in this respect.