Effect of co-morbidities on fracture risk: Findings from the Global Longitudinal Study of Osteoporosis in Women (GLOW)

Elaine M. Dennison, Juliet E. Compston, Julie Flahive, Ethel S. Siris, Stephen H. Gehlbach, Jonathan D. Adachi, Steven Boonen, Roland Chapurlat, Adolfo Díez-Pérez, Frederick A. Anderson, Frederick H. Hooven, Andrea Z. LaCroix, Robert Lindsay, J. Coen Netelenbos, Johannes Pfeilschifter, Maurizio Rossini, Christian Roux, Kenneth G. Saag, Philip Sambrook, Stuart SilvermanNelson B. Watts, Susan L. Greenspan, Melissa Premaor, Cyrus Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

123 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Greater awareness of the relationship between co-morbidities and fracture risk may improve fracture-prediction algorithms such as FRAX. Materials and methods: We used a large, multinational cohort study (GLOW) to investigate the effect of co-morbidities on fracture risk. Women completed a baseline questionnaire detailing past medical history, including co-morbidity history and fracture. They were re-contacted annually to determine incident clinical fractures. A co-morbidity index, defined as number of baseline co-morbidities, was derived. The effect of adding the co-morbidity index to FRAX risk factors on fracture prevention was examined using chi-squared tests, the May-Hosmer test, c index and comparison of predicted versus observed fracture rates. Results: Of 52,960 women with follow-up data, enrolled between October 2006 and February 2008, 3224 (6.1%) sustained an incident fracture over 2. years. All recorded co-morbidities were significantly associated with fracture, except for high cholesterol, hypertension, celiac disease, and cancer. The strongest association was seen with Parkinson's disease (age-adjusted hazard ratio [HR]: 2.2; 95% CI: 1.6-3.1; P< 0.001). Co-morbidities that contributed most to fracture prediction in a Cox regression model with FRAX risk factors as additional predictors were: Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, osteoarthritis, and heart disease. Conclusion: Co-morbidities, as captured in a co-morbidity index, contributed significantly to fracture risk in this study population. Parkinson's disease carried a particularly high risk of fracture; and increasing co-morbidity index was associated with increasing fracture risk. Addition of co-morbidity index to FRAX risk factors improved fracture prediction. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1288-1293
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012


  • Co-morbidities
  • Fracture risk
  • FRAX
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson's disease


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