A study has revealed that most of the people suffering from osteoporosis are not told about it and almost all get inferior treatment.
According to the research by the University of Western Australia, in spite of thousands of older Australians being affected by osteoporosis, the problem is not being managed efficiently.
Dr Charles Inderjeeth from the School of Population Health in Western Australia, carried out a study on 366 female osteoporosis patients aged over 60 admitted to Western Australia hospitals with fractures between 1997 and 2002. It was found that less than 50% were told about the disease. Even high risk patients who have had hip fractures or multiple fractures because of osteoporosis are not aware about it, says study leader Dr.Inderjeeth.
"These findings identify significant gaps in patients' knowledge of their risk of osteoporosis,"he said.
According to him, they were in line with other national studies, "suggesting that the problem is uniformly poorly managed on a wider scale".
50% of women and 1/3rd of men in Australia will be affected by this disease in their lifetime.
The research reveals more than 2,00,000 osteoporotic fractures will be reported annually in Australian hospitals by the year 2051.
For proper diagnosis of the disease, a subsidized bone mineral density test is available widely.
But only 35% of the patients were found to have had the test and only 37% were on some sort of treatment (usually calcium tablets) after being discharged. This was found by the questionnaire study that was published in the latest Internal Medicine Journal.
"Most were on sub-optimal treatment and even patients in the highest risk groups, including those with recurrent fracture, were poorly managed despite effective, subsidised treatments being available," Dr Inderjeeth said.
The drastic increase in incidence of osteoporosis and the expenditure for treating it should make prevention a priority, he says.
According to him, doctors should do more about the disease than just treat the fracture.
The results show that the disease should be taken more seriously said Judy Stenmark, Osteoporosis Australia chief executive.
"At the very least, all medical and health professionals who come into contact with people over 50 with a low trauma fracture should be suggesting they be investigated for osteoporosis."