Osteoporosis can lead to painful fractures, disability, and early death, but the disease continues to be ignored by the general public and neglected by doctors during routine physical check-ups.
New survey findings released on World Osteoporosis Day by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) show that 90 percent of the 13,258 adults questioned are unaware of how common osteoporotic fractures are in men.
With 1 in 5 men aged 50 years or older affected, the data confirm that although common, serious, and potentially life-threatening, osteoporosis remains a vastly underestimated and neglected health issue. The multi-national survey, carried out in adults from 12 countries, showed that this ignorance was universal and independent of gender or geography.
Professor John Kanis, president of IOF, said, "The sad reality is that by not knowing their risk, men are leaving themselves vulnerable to a future of pain, disability, and possibly early death. The problem is being further exacerbated by doctors not addressing the bone health of their patients during routine check-ups." According to the survey, men in the 50+ age group who had had a check-up were 18 percent less likely than women of the same age to have any form of bone health assessment. This difference was even more pronounced in certain countries, including the US (31 percent), Brazil (30 percent), Belgium (23 percent), and Spain (22 percent).
The survey revealed that:
>>90 percent were unaware of how common osteoporotic fractures are in men; 73 percent underestimated the risk of fracture in men and a further 17 percent said they "didn't know".
- >>71 percent of those aged 50+ (the population group most affected by the disease) underestimated the risk of osteoporosis in men.
- >>Only 8 percent of men, compared with 10 percent of women, aged 50+ correctly estimated that osteoporotic fractures affect approximately 1 in 5 men worldwide -- when the results of all countries were averaged. The UK had the lowest level of awareness with only 3 percent answering correctly, followed by Belgium (6 percent), Jordan (6 percent), the US (7 percent), Spain (8 percent), UAE (8 percent), India (9 percent), Brazil (11 percent), Australia (12 percent), South Africa (14 percent), Mexico(18 percent), and China (20 percent). It must be noted that although there are national and regional variations in the osteoporosis burden, the majority of those surveyed vastly underestimated risk.
- >>An average of 53 percent of male respondents aged 50+ who had visited a doctor for a routine physical check-up said that they had never had any form of bone assessment during a check-up, including: been asked about bone health; had risk factors for osteoporosis discussed; questioned if they had previously broken a bone; or had been referred for a bone mineral density test. This compares with 35 percent of women aged 50+.
World Osteoporosis Day, observed annually on October 20th, marks a year-long campaign. Learn more about the disease and the campaign at worldosteoporosisday.org.
Source: The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF)