Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Millions of osteoporosis sufferers go undiagnosed

27.07.2004


Despite recent gains in the awareness and treatment of osteoporosis, millions of Americans who have the disease remain undiagnosed and untreated and may learn of their condition only when they suffer a fracture, Stanford University School of Medicine researchers report.

Writing in the July 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, the research group estimates that fewer than half of the people with osteoporosis have been recognized as such. "If a person’s doctor hasn’t diagnosed osteoporosis, there’s no way they could be on optimal treatment for their bone condition," said Randall Stafford, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine in the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who led the study.

Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become more fragile and prone to break. The study found that 3.5 million patients visited their doctors last year for osteoporosis treatment, compared with just half a million in 1994. For these patients, new prescription medications provide easier and more effective treatments than were available in the past. As encouraging as this progress is, much still needs to be done to identify and treat people with the disease, the report notes.



About 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and 34 million more are at risk, but the weak bones that characterize the condition often go unnoticed until they fracture, most frequently in the hip, spine or wrist. Among the older people (mainly women) most susceptible to osteoporosis, this can present major problems. "The gravity of fractures is often underappreciated when in fact patients with hip fractures go on to have deterioration in their health linked directly to their fractures, with a high probability of death or nursing home placement," Stafford said.

In 2001, the direct medical costs of osteoporosis were about $17 billion. Despite this, it was not until 2002 that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force began recommending that all women over age 65 be screened for low bone density.

Both recognition and treatment of osteoporosis have increased noticeably in the past 10 years, the research group found. Stafford attributes this to a constellation of factors, including the emergence of new drugs, more marketing of medications, increased public awareness and better screening technology.

One cause for concern, Stafford said, is that as prescriptions for newer anti-osteoporosis drugs have increased, the use of calcium supplements has decreased. Doctors reported treating 43 percent of osteoporosis patients with calcium supplements in 1994, but only 24 percent last year. "Physicians and patients may be so enamored of the new drugs that they are neglecting this important component of osteoporosis treatment," Stafford said. This would be a mistake, he noted, because newer osteoporosis medications were tested on people taking extra calcium and may not work as well without it.

The results of the study, which used data from an ongoing national physician survey, also point to a path to increase the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis. Since most osteoporosis is recognized and treated by primary care physicians, these physicians are the best targets for improvement efforts, Stafford said. "It’s not a matter of the knowledge being out there, but it’s a matter of the knowledge being implemented by the physicians who are providing most of the care," he explained.

Research group member Rebecca Drieling, project business manager, said the importance of treating osteoporosis will only increase. "We have an aging population, so we need to be prepared now to educate physicians and the public to follow the guidelines that recommend that every woman over the age of 65 have bone mineral density screening so that we can catch osteoporosis cases early," she said.

Susan Ipaktchian | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.stanford.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Penn study identifies new malaria parasites in wild bonobos
21.11.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

nachricht NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures
17.11.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Previous evidence of water on mars now identified as grainflows

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope completes final cryogenic testing

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New catalyst controls activation of a carbon-hydrogen bond

21.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>