Objective: To update the evidence-based position statement published by The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) in 2002 regarding the management of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.
Design: NAMS followed the general principles established for evidence-based guidelines to create this updated document. A panel of clinicians and researchers expert in the field of metabolic bone diseases and/or women's health were enlisted to review the 2002 NAMS position statement, compile supporting statements, and reach consensus on recommendations. The panel's recommendations were reviewed and approved by the NAMS Board of Trustees.
Results: Osteoporosis, whose prevalence is especially high among elderly postmenopausal women, increases the risk of fractures. Hip and spine fractures are associated with particularly high morbidity and mortality in this population. Given the health implications of osteoporotic fractures, the primary goal of osteoporosis therapy is to prevent fractures, which is accomplished by slowing or stopping bone loss, maintaining bone strength, and minimizing or eliminating factors that may contribute to fractures. The evaluation of postmenopausal women for osteoporosis risk requires a medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests. Major risk factors for postmenopausal osteoporosis (as defined by bone mineral density) include advanced age, genetics, lifestyle factors (such as low calcium and vitamin D intake, smoking), thinness, and menopause status. The most common risk factors for osteoporotic fracture are advanced age, low bone mineral density, and previous fracture as an adult. Management focuses first on nonpharmacologic measures, such as a balanced diet, adequate calcium and vitamin D intake, adequate exercise, smoking cessation, avoidance of excessive alcohol intake, and fall prevention. If pharmacologic therapy is indicated, government-approved options are bisphosphonates, a selective estrogen-receptor modulator, parathyroid hormone, estrogens, and calcitonin.
Conclusions: Management strategies for postmenopausal women involve identifying those at risk of low bone density and fracture, followed by instituting measures that focus on reducing modifiable risk factors through lifestyle changes and, if indicated, pharmacologic therapy.