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Osteoporosis

Two-Thirds of Osteoporosis Patients Go Untreated

16 years, 10 months ago

2305  0
Posted on Oct 08, 2002, 6 a.m. By Bill Freeman

Results of a study of nationwide data collected between 1993 and 1997 have revealed that the bone disease osteoporosis often goes undiagnosed, unreported, and untreated in the US. Researchers found that just 2% of women aged 60 and over had been diagnosed with the bone-thinning condition, however it is estimated that the disease actually affects 20-30% of older women.

Results of a study of nationwide data collected between 1993 and 1997 have revealed that the bone disease osteoporosis often goes undiagnosed, unreported, and untreated in the US. Researchers found that just 2% of women aged 60 and over had been diagnosed with the bone-thinning condition, however it is estimated that the disease actually affects 20-30% of older women. Furthermore, just 5% of women diagnosed with osteoporosis by bone mineral density scans were actually told that they had "osteoporosis . . . thin or brittle bones." The study also found that just 17% of older women hospitalized because of radiographically demonstrated vertebral fractures had their condition recorded in their notes. Of these 17%, appropriate treatment was noted in just 30%.

The results also revealed that 20%, or one in five women diagnosed with osteoporosis in 1993 were prescribed calcium, vitamin-D, or drugs to treat their condition, however by 1997 this figure increased to 55%. Altogether, just 36% of women diagnosed with the disease during the mid-1990's were offered treatment.

Osteoporosis is thought to affect more than 23-million US citizens, and is responsible for 2.5-million physician visits, 1.5-million fractures, and 400,000 hospitalizations each year, at a cost of $13.8-billion. The researchers behind the study say that these factors should make osteoporosis a public health priority.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: American Journal of Public Health 2002; 92:271-273

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