More than 100,000 Australians are fractured due to osteoporosis yearly. But only a few patients are properly treated or diagnosed for the ailment which causes bone breakage, leading doctors contend.
A number of patients are admitted back at the hospital often for fractures costing billions of dollars for the health system, as only a few hospitals in Australia have set up special facilities for the correct diagnosis and treatment.
Running the fracture liaison service at Sydney’s Concord Hospital, Professor Markus Seibel said 70 to 80% of patients with bone fracture is not properly diagnosed and treated for osteoporosis. A majority of those tend to have ensued fractures.
“You can imagine for those patients going through a series of fractures and hospitalizations and operations, it’s devastating not only for them, but their families and all of this could’ve been prevented if we intervene early,” Seibel said.
So how do doctors diagnosed osteoporosis?
Diagnosing osteoporosis is by using a bone density scan, also called a bone density test, which measures your bone density, at the hip and spine.
The procedure is simple. A patient lies flat on a table fully clothed, and the machine’s arm passes over the patient’s body, which take an approximate 10 to 15 minutes.
Men and women over the age of 50, who are high risk may need a bone check up with a bone density scan.
If bone density is low, a high probability to have a bone fracture is in your future.
Sometimes people under 50 are required to have a bone density scan as they have some risk factors.
Calcium, vitamin D and regular exercise makes bones healthy, while habits like smoking and excessive intake of alcohol are bad for the bones.
It is also essential to be mindful of some risk factors for low bone density. The risk factors include osteoporosis family history, low levels of calcium and vitamin D and some conditions or medications.
Leading organizations, particularly the Australian and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society, Osteoporosis Australia and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians is calling for government action to stop the repeated cycle of fractures.