TORONTO -- People over the age of 50 who have suffered a fracture because of a slip or trip play a central role in making sure they get proper care to prevent a future fracture, a new study has found.
The findings are important because previous efforts to improve care for bone health after one of these fractures have had limited success.
Dr. Dorcas Beaton, lead author of the study and director of the Mobility Program Clinical Research Unit at St. Michael's Hospital, found that people with what are known as fragility fractures who understood their potential risk for another fracture were more likely to do something about it.
Having bone mineral density testing done was not as important as the patient understanding the test results, the study found. Past and acquired knowledge about bone health and osteoporosis was also pivotal.
The study appears online in the journal Osteoporosis International.
Half of all women over the age of 50 and one in five men over 50 will have a fracture after falling from standing height or lower. Having one such fracture doubles a person's risk of having another. But there are ways to reduce the risk.
Dr. Beaton said that unless patients understand there is a risk, they fall through the cracks and are less likely to discuss the issue with their family physicians.
Dr. Beaton leads a team at St. Michael's that is evaluating the Fracture Clinic Screening Program, part of Ontario's Osteoporosis Strategy. This program has placed coordinators in the busiest fracture clinics around the province to try to help patients connect with their primary care providers in an informed way. Patients can then make decisions about care to reduce the risk of another fracture.
Dr. Beaton's study looked at the role a fracture patient's knowledge and self-perceived need that bone health could be an issue had on his or her likelihood of having a risk assessment done and treatment in
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St. Michael's Hospital