Health Crisis Within 15 Years Medical Experts Warn
U. S. Surgeon General Warns Of Increased Incidence Of Osteoporosis And Low Bone Mass Among Older Americans.
(PRWEB) May 5, 2005
May is National Osteoporosis Awareness Month, an opportunity for health care providers to emphasize the importance of bone health, especially for Americans over 50.The first-ever U. S. Surgeon General's report on the topic of bone health released in October 2004, estimated roughly 1.5 million people a year suffer a bone fracture related to osteoporosis. The alarming news is that those who suffer these fractures are seldom tested for osteoporosis.
"....physicians who diagnose and treat fracturesÂare not evaluating patients with acute fractures for the presence of osteoporosis and are not prescribing calcium, vitamin D, or specific pharmacological therapy to reduce future fractures," said Dr. Marc Hochberg of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. His comments were included in an article he co-authored for the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in August 2003.
The members of the Mid Atlantic Osteoporosis Board are committed to educating physicians and the lay public on how to assess, diagnose and treat osteoporosis. According to Dr. Michael Bolognese, the board's chairman, "the board is entering its sixth year of existence and the members are more dedicated then ever. Today we see more primary care physicians involved in osteoporosis patient discussions and treatment than we did six years ago. However, fracture patients remain underdiagnosed and undertreated to prevent future fractures."
A recent analysis of the Pennsylvania Medicare drug benefit program from 1994 to 2000 supports this lack of attention to fractures. (American Journal of Medicine, October 2003) Over the 6 year study period 21,000 patients developed either a hip or wrist fracture. Forty nine (49) percent of the 21,000 had a prior fracture. Over time there was a slight increase in therapeutic intervention after fracture, but by the study end only 1 out of 5 patients were taking an osteoporosis medication in the six months following fracture. According to author Dr. Daniel Solomon, "It appears that many doctors and patients do not recognize that fracture is a key event that should alert us to the presence of osteoporosis, a condition with very effective treatment options."
To curb the osteoporosis "epidemic," doctors should order bone density scans for older Americans who suffer bone fractures. The bone mineral density test is a painless scan in which patients lie on a table and are scanned by a machine that measures spine and hip bone density. It takes about five to ten minutes and involves a very small amount of radiation. The National Osteoporosis Foundation provides these clear guidelines for physicians ordering a bone mineral density (BMD) test.
BMD testing should be performed on:
1. All women aged 65 and older regardless of risk factors.
2. Younger postmenopausal women with one or more risk factors (other than being white, postmenopausal, and female).
3. Postmenopausal women who have suffered fractures (to confirm diagnosis and determine disease severity)
Women over 50 years of age who suffer a bone fracture should request that their physicians order a bone mineral density test to determine if they have osteoporosis.
About Us: Established in 1999, the MAOB is a non-profit Maryland based 501(C)3 corporation comprised of specialists involved in the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis. These clinical experts represent various fields of medicine ranging from rheumatology to obstetrics and gynecology. To date, the MAOB has sponsored and conducted clinical trials, which have gained them both national and international recognition. Their commitment to the medical community is demonstrated through the provision of free Continuing Medical Education activities available in print and lecture format to over 15,000 physicians. In addition, the MAOB has improved public consciousness by developing WomenÂs Osteoporosis Educational Programs, whereupon 1,000s of free bone density heel scans were provided.
Visit our website for more information on the projects and history of the Board, www. midatlanticosteo. org.
Contact Info: Note to Media: The members of the Mid Atlantic Osteoporosis Board (see complete list below) will be available for media interviews during the month of May. Contact us at 410-923-6591 to schedule an interview or contact us through our website for more information http://www. midatlanticosteo. org (http://www. midatlanticosteo. org).