For Dr. Beaton's study, research participants from 37 fracture clinics around Ontario completed a survey about their perception and knowledge of osteoporosis with the bone health coordinators in those clinics.
Dr. Beaton found that most patients did not perceive themselves to have a bone health issue and therefore would be less likely to follow up with their physicians to discuss their options. Most had no idea that a fracture that has occurred after the age of 50 and from a slip, trip or fall from a low height could be the first indicator of a bone health issue which they can do something about.
The treating practitioners (usually family physicians) appeared more likely to order a bone density test and preventative care if the patient was informed and aware that he or she might have an underlying bone health issue, the study found.
"Treatment decisions lie with the primary care physician or nurse practitioner and the patient to decide upon. Our goal is to facilitate evidence-based and well- informed decision-making." Dr. Beaton said. "It seems that the patient's awareness is currently central to the process, to even getting the discussion started."
There are many steps in preventing the next fracture talking to a physician, getting tested and assessed for personal fracture risk, and beginning treatment, which could include Vitamin D supplements, lifestyle changes or in some cases taking drugs such as bisphosphonates.
The study found that patients are pivotal to each of these steps and their awareness of their own bone health made a big difference to whether these actions took place.
The Fracture Clinic Screening Program, run by Osteoporosis Canada, has seen more than 40,000 Ontarians since 2007.
Internationally, there are not enough physicians administering preventat
|Contact: Leslie Shepherd|
St. Michael's Hospital