Medical / Osteoporosis / October 14, 2011

New Osteoporosis Screening and Treatment Guidelines

Mostly common in women over the age of 50, osteoporosis is the weakening of the bones. It is characterized by thinning of the bone tissues and an increased bone density decline. It has been estimated that out of every 5 American women over the age of 50, 1 of them has osteoporosis, and about 3 of the 5 women are most likely to face a fracture of the wrist, hip, or spine.

What causes osteoporosis?

Researchers have revealed that the many causes of osteoporosis are:

  • Failure to form new bone by the body
  • Calcium and Phosphate intake is not meeting the required minimum amount
  • As people age, unless the calcium and phosphate are supplied properly through diet, the calcium and phosphate already present inside the bones becomes reabsorbed, leading to the thinning of bones tissues
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Bed confinement for an extended period of time
  • Chronic kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.

Osteoporosis is not an exclusive medical condition, limited to only women. About 80,000 men each year break a hip or bone, and are most likely to die within a year of the incident. Several factors are responsible for putting a man at Osteoporosis risk, including heavy alcohol consumption, smoking, steroid medications, and even low testosterone levels.

New Osteoporosis Guidelines

In fact, the American College of Physicians has issued new osteoporosis screening and treatment guidelines in older men which are:

  • Clinics should regularly assess men for the danger of osteoporosis
  • For those found at a higher risk of osteoporosis, DXA tests (a test to measure bone density) should be taken

Studies by experts at the National Osteoporosis Foundation forecast that by 2025, osteoporosis will be responsible for a total cost of $25.3 billion each year, and approximately three million fractures. The National Osteoporosis Society estimates that by 2036, osteoporosis treatment would encompass a total cost of $9.7 billion, which is a staggering increase from the current expenditure level of $3.25 billion.

Treating Osteoporosis

Some leading osteoporosis treatments and medications are:

  • Calcitonin: medicine which helps in slowing the bone density loss rate, and is available in the form of an injection or nasal spray. It does have some side effects.
  • Bisphosphonates: more successful than calcitonin, these are the primary drugs, used to both treat as well as prevent osteoporosis. These are taken through the mouth, or through intravenously.
  • Hormone Replacement therapy: this type of treatment is strictly not advised. If a woman has taken this therapy, other options to help her with the disease are closed. So it is very risky, and you should discuss this issue with your doctor first.

Making the Check

A recent study conducted in over 11 nations has revealed the fact that those fracture clinics, which have committed someone to specifically check their patients for osteoporosis have a far better success rate. They said “We have orthopedic surgeons, physiotherapists, orthopedic technicians. It makes complete sense to have someone who specializes in osteoporosis, who could test the patients, educate them and guide them to a proper osteoporosis treatment facility.”

Taking the Time

It is also concluded that any future studies should include a standardized reporting of the bone density in addition to other reports, in order to help the elderly recognize this problem as soon as possible.