Mass bone density screening of women to detect those at risk of developing osteoporosis and subsequent fracture
Walker, B.F. (1994) Mass bone density screening of women to detect those at risk of developing osteoporosis and subsequent fracture. COMSIG Review, 3 (1). pp. 2-6.
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Osteoporosis has been strongly linked as a predisposing cause of fractures and therefore its identification in an ageing population is important. Bone density measurement (BDM) to detect osteoporosis using methods like dual-photon absorptiometry (DEXA) allows for accurate measurement of osteoporosis with a low radiation measurement of osteoporosis with a low radiation exposure BDM has been promoted as a preventive test for fractures in elderly women by mass population screening.
It is widely accepted that BDM can be legitimately used to influence clinical decisions in specific instances, such as the need for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in oestrogen deficient women. However, BDM is not widely accepted as a mass screening tool.
Based on the evidence available mass screening for the detection of osteoporosis to prevent fractures in women is inadvisable.
Governments and many health service providers play an important role in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis.
Any campaign to prevent osteoporosis and associated fractures should involve a multi-faceted approach including health education on osteoporosis, in particular the prevention of falls and the promotion of exercise, smoking cessation and education on calcium intake.
Also medicare benefits for safe bone enhancing drugs such as etidronate and judicious bone densitometry should be allowed.
Keywords: Osteoporosis, women, fractures, bone density, screening, densitometry, prevention, policy
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