A new study has found that many patients at risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures do not receive proper evaluation and subsequent treatment. Current guidelines suggest that all postmenopausal women over the age of 50 be evaluated for osteoporosis which entails a detailed medical examination and clinical fracture risk assessment.
Women are particularly susceptible to osteoporosis as their bones are thinner, and their risk rises even further with menopause as a result of loss of estrogen.
Dr. Pauline M. Camacho developed the guidelines for osteoporosis screening. The recommendations are graded from A to D, with those graded as A having the most convincing evidence to support the guidelines.
The guidelines state, “Despite these significant costs, fewer than one in four women aged 67 years or older with an osteoporosis-related fracture undergoes bone density measurement or begins osteoporosis treatment.”
Risk factors for osteoporosis include older age, low body weight, family history, smoking, early menopause, and high alcohol intake.
The guidelines concluded, “Further study is needed to determine the most effective means of communicating benefit and risk in osteoporosis management. The best available evidence at this time suggests that communication skills can be learned, decision aids may be helpful, and that shared decision-making may improve clinical outcomes.”