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 Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour
24.05.2018 | Arizona State University

nachricht 3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

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: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

When corals eat plastics

24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Surgery involving ultrasound energy found to treat high blood pressure

24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering

First chip-scale broadband optical system that can sense molecules in the mid-IR

24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>