Research Article

Perimenopausal risk of falling and incidence of distal forearm fracture.

BMJ 1989; 298 doi: (Published 03 June 1989) Cite this as: BMJ 1989;298:1486
  1. S. J. Winner,
  2. C. A. Morgan,
  3. J. G. Evans
  1. University Division of Geriatric Medicine, Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford.


    A postal survey of 2000 women and 2000 men sampled from the electoral roll in Oxford was undertaken to ascertain whether changes with age in the risk of falling might explain the stepwise increases in age specific incidence rates of distal forearm fracture which occur in women at around the age of 50. Corrected response rates were 83% for women and 72% for men. In women, but not in men, there was a rise in the risk of falling from 45 years, peaking in the 55-59 year age group, and sinking to a nadir at ages 70-74. In both sexes rates rose in extreme old age. These variations were not attributable to preferential response from people who had suffered a fracture. It is concluded that changes in the risk of falling interact with osteoporosis to produce a perimenopausal rise in the incidence of forearm fractures and contribute to the fluctuations in incidence of these fractures in old age.