Vertebral fractures and self-perceived health in elderly women and men in a population-based cross-sectional study: The Tromsø Study 2007-08

Svanhild Waterloo, Anne J. Søgaard, Luai A. Ahmed, Elin Damsgård, Bente Morseth, Nina Emaus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Health-related quality of life (HRQL) may be associated with increased mortality in the elderly. The effect of prevalent vertebral fractures on HRQL in elderly women and men is not well described. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between prevalent vertebral fractures and back pain, neck pain, and HRQL in elderly women and men, and to study possible gender differences in the reported pain and HRQL. Methods. Information on prevalent vertebral fractures was ascertained by a vertebral fracture assessment (VFA) method (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), GE Lunar Prodigy) in 2887 women and men, mean age 65.4 (SD 9.4) who participated in the population-based Tromsø Study which was conducted in 2007-08. Bone mineral density (BMD; g/cm2) was measured by DXA at the femoral sites. Self-reported HRQL was assessed using the standardized measures EQ-5D-3 L and EQ VAS from the EuroQol Group. Lifestyle information was collected by questionnaires. The association between vertebral fractures and pain was analyzed using logistic regression, between vertebral fractures and EQ-5D-3 L and EQ VAS scores by multiple regression analyses. Results: In women, presence of vertebral fractures was associated with an increased risk of back pain with an OR of 1.76 (95% CI: 1.24 - 2.50) after adjustments for age, height, weight, and BMD. Women with vertebral fractures had lower EQ-5D-3 L scores (p < 0.001) than women without vertebral fractures, also after adjustments. These associations were not present in men. Type of fracture was not associated with EQ-5D-3 L scores, but increasing numbers (p < 0.001) and severity of fractures (p < 0.002) were associated with decreasing EQ-5D-3 L score in women. Conclusion: Prevalent vertebral fractures are associated with increased risk of back pain and reduced HRQL in postmenopausal women, but not in men.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Health-related quality of life (HRQL)
  • Pain
  • Population-based study
  • Self-perceived health
  • Vertebral fractures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Vertebral fractures and self-perceived health in elderly women and men in a population-based cross-sectional study: The Tromsø Study 2007-08'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this