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 Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties
23.02.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>