Osteoporosis Awareness Low Among People

Armen Hareyan's picture
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The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) today announced results of a nationwide survey that reveals a concerning low awareness of bone health and risk for osteoporosis in American men and women age 45 and older, as well as a lack of conversations regarding bone health between patients in this age group and their health professionals.

While 55 percent of people over the age of 50 are living with or at risk for osteoporosis, the study reveals that 40 percent of women and 60 percent of men age 45 and older have little or no concern about their bone health. The study also reveals that most Americans 45 and older are concerned about the impact a broken bone would have on daily activities and their independence to live how they choose, however, almost 80 percent of them do not believe osteoporosis as a risk factor in broken bones.

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This failure to link osteoporosis with broken bones as we age is particularly concerning when one in two women and one in four men older than 50 is estimated to break a bone due to osteoporosis in their remaining lifetime. In fact, a woman's risk of a hip fracture is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer. Fracture is the medical condition name commonly used to describe a broken bone. A fracture is a break, however, almost half of Americans age 45+ are not aware that these are the same.

According to the study, six of ten women and nine of ten men have not yet had a discussion about the risk of breaking a bone with their healthcare provider. A staggering four in ten women in this age group have not had a bone density test, and for men this number is nearly twice as high. Americans report they didn't think to ask about a bone density scan or were waiting for their health professional to bring it up. Both women and men are unlikely to have a bone density test in the coming year.

"We strongly urge patients to become aware of the risks and causes of broken bones as they get older," said Dr. Felicia Cosman, M.D., clinical director of the National Osteoporosis Foundation. "It is clear that discussions between health professionals and patients about bone health are not commonplace. NOF is working to advance the process of evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis through developments such as our new Clinician's Guide to Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis, however, patients need to take charge of their health and bring up the topic with their health professionals rather than relying on them to bring it up first."

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