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Improving Osteoporosis Fracture Risk Communication: A Call for Better Patient Education

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Ethan Sulliva
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Improving Osteoporosis Fracture Risk Communication: A Call for Better Patient Education

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Osteoporosis Fracture Risk: A Gap in Patient Communication

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According to a study published in Osteoporosis International, only half of women with osteoporosis have received information about their fracture risk from health care providers. This research was conducted by scientists at Maastricht University, who assessed patients' preferences for fracture risk communication. The results were revealing and highlighted a significant communication gap that needs addressing.

Even though most of the participants considered it crucial to receive this information, only 56 percent had already been informed about their fracture risk. Moreover, the study participants preferred a visual presentation of their FRAX fracture risk probability using a traffic-light type colored graph. This discovery indicates that the way this vital information is delivered can significantly impact a patient's understanding and subsequent action towards prevention.

Understanding Osteoporotic Fracture Risk Factors

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Another study conducted on 13,151 Japanese people living in the community aged 40-74 shed light on the associations of body mass index (BMI) and height with osteoporotic fracture risk. The research found that underweight men had a significantly higher hazard ratio for total fracture, and obese men had significantly higher hazard ratios for total and vertebral fractures. Interestingly, no significant associations were observed between BMI and risk of any fracture in women. However, higher quartiles of height were associated with higher vertebral fracture risk only in women. These findings suggest that the associations between BMI, height, and osteoporotic fracture risk may depend on sex.

The Perception of High-Risk Patients

Australian clinicians were surveyed to understand their perceptions of patients with a very high risk of fracture. They perceived the typical high-risk patient as a woman in her 80s living at home, diagnosed with osteoporosis between 5 and 10 years ago, and received treatment for 1.5 years, most commonly denosumab. Interestingly, there was a mismatch between the patient being eligible for anabolic therapy and actually having been prescribed an anabolic treatment in the past. This mismatch suggests that the use of anabolic agents appears to be heavily influenced by local reimbursement criteria.

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Osteoporosis, Liver Cirrhosis, and Fragility Fractures

Another study assessed the prevalence of osteoporosis and fragility fractures in patients with liver cirrhosis and found a high prevalence, particularly in older women. The study also found that FRAX® may be a useful method to identify candidates for bone densitometry, indicating that this tool could be beneficial in screening patients at a higher risk of fracture.

Osteoporosis Prevention Knowledge Gap

Finally, a study aimed at assessing the knowledge related to osteoporosis prevention among people with endocrine disorders in China indicated that more efforts are needed to improve the knowledge related to osteoporosis prevention. The participants had a mean knowledge of 59.36 out of 100, with only 52.1% scoring above 60 points. The study found that being female, having higher education, with comorbidities, with a recent osteoporosis diagnosis, and having received health education related to osteoporosis prevention were associated with higher knowledge of osteoporosis prevention.

In conclusion, these studies highlight the need for improved communication and education about osteoporosis and fracture risk. Patients need to be informed about their risk and given tools, including visual aids and personalized risk assessments, to understand and manage their condition better. This improved communication can heighten awareness of osteoporosis, the consequences of fractures, and the significance of fracture prevention, leading to an improved quality of life for those at risk.

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