Predicting Risk of Hip Fracture in Postmenopausal Women: From HealthDay News: “Scientists have developed a model to help doctors predict which postmenopausal women are likely to sustain a hip fracture over a five-year period. The algorithm includes 11 different factors — such as age and family history — and applies to postmenopausal women of different ethnic backgrounds.”

The findings were published
in the Nov. 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical
Association.

The lead author of the study, Dr. John Robbins, a professor at the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, told The New York Times that many women aren’t screened because they don’t fit a certain profile: “Doctors have a hard time looking at multiple factors … They have a mindset that it’s a disease of thin, Caucasian women, and that’s not really true.”

Robbins also cautions against assuming bone-building drugs are necessary if a woman is at high risk:

Although bone-building drugs have been shown to improve bone density, there’s no
evidence that a woman with normal bone density, but still at high fracture risk, would benefit from using the drugs.

Instead, women with normal bone density but at known fracture risk
might be advised to consider calcium supplements, increase
weight-bearing exercise, safety proof their homes to prevent accidental
falls and learn techniques to improve balance.

A survey based on the algorithm is available online:
You can enter your information into the Women’s Health Initiative Hip Fracture Risk Calculator, which was created from data gathered from 162,000 women who took part in the Women’s Health Initiative.

Let Them See You Sweat: The Globe and Mail has a lengthy story about managing menopause in the workplace.

“While there are many women who are able to cope with their menopause symptoms, for some, the symptoms can be debilitating,” says Pamela Boggs, director of education and development for the North American Menopause Society in Cleveland. “And it gets even more challenging when you’re at work, because you’re trying to perform your job while you’re getting hit by menopause symptoms.”

Companies are also doing more to show support of their employees:

Steel-maker Dofasco Inc. has been hosting lunch-and-learn sessions
on menopause for the past several years, says Bonnie Topic, an
occupational health nurse in charge of Hamilton, Ont.-based Dofasco’s
employee lifestyle program.

At Toronto-based Campbell Co. of Canada, a unit of Camden,
N.J.-based Campbell Soup Co., an employee-comprised wellness counsel is
organizing a lunch and learn.

“When we look at our workplace demographic, we have a large group of
women at the menopausal age or approaching it,” says Fanny Karolev,
Campbell’s occupational health nurse. She says the session may do more
than inform: It may also spawn a support network. “And I would
definitely encourage a support group, where women can talk to other
women who are going through the same thing they are. …they don’t have
to feel like they’re suffering alone.”

Plus: Seminars to help male employees cope with their symptoms.

Too Little Too Late: R.J. Reynolds announced it would stop running advertisements in newspapers and magazines starting in 2008. We’ve written about the Camel No. 9 ads before — and the outrage of Rep. Lois Capps,
D-Calif., who called on women’s magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Vogue
and Glamour to stop accepting the ads. According to the AP:

Capps on Tuesday called the Reynolds decision a “token concession” that was “a day late and a dollar short.”

In fact, the print ads account for only a tiny portion of what the tobacco
industry spends on marketing. But they’ve been notable because they
often appear in magazines side by side with articles promoting women’s
health.

Speaking of Smoking and Women’s Health … The New York Times reports today on the rise in the number of cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or C.O.P.D., which permanently damages the lungs and is usually caused by smoking.

Once thought of as an old man’s disease, this disorder has become a major
killer in women as well, the consequence of a smoking boom in the
1950s, ’60s and ’70s. The death rate in women nearly tripled from 1980
to 2000, and since 2000, more women than men have died or been
hospitalized every year because of the disease.

“Women started
smoking in what I call the Virginia Slims era, when they started
sponsoring sporting events,” said Dr. Barry J. Make, a lung specialist
at National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver. “It’s now
just catching up to them.”

Plus:
Have a question about C.O.P.D.? Dr. Byron Thomashow, medical director
of the The Jo-Ann LeBuhn Center for Chest Disease and Respiratory
Failure at Columbia University Medical Center, is taking readers’ questions here.

Christine

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