To identify a proper T-score threshold for the diagnosis of osteoporosis in Koreans using quantitative ultrasonography (QUS), normative data from 240 females and 238 males (ages 20-29 yr) were newly generated. Then, the osteoporosis prevalence estimate for men and women over 50 yr of age was analyzed using previous World Health Organization (WHO) methods and heel QUS. T-scores were calculated from the normative data. There were definite negative correlations between age and all of the QUS parameters, such as speed of sound (SOS), broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA), and estimated heel bone mineral density (BMD) (p<0.0001). After applying the recently determined prevalence of incident vertebral fracture in Koreans over 50 yr of age (11.6% and 9.1%, female vs male, respectively) to the diagnosis of osteoporosis by T-scores from heel BMD as measured by QUS, it was revealed that applicable T-scores for women and men were -2.25 and -1.85, respectively. These data suggest that simply using a T-score of -2.5, the classical WHO threshold for osteoporosis, underestimates the true prevalence when using peripheral QUS. Further prospective study of the power of QUS in predicting the absolute risk of fracture is needed
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