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Making Bones about a Hip Fracture

Posted on: 11/30/1999
There is a concern in the medical world that men and women with broken hips aren't being checked or treated for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a common disease among aging adults. Osteoporosis involves a decrease in bone mass. The result is an increased number of fractures. The bones in the spine, wrist, and hip are affected most often.

When people come to the hospital with a hip fracture, they aren't always going home with the right care. Anyone over age 55 who has broken a bone should be tested for osteoporosis. Anyone with signs of osteoporosis must be given calcium and some new drugs to fight the disease.

Women after menopause and adults over 55 who have a broken bone are at risk for another fracture. Their current calcium and medication use should be reviewed. Just taking calcium is not enough. They also need enough vitamin D and, when needed, the right drugs to prevent further bone loss.
More and more people know about osteoporosis. New drugs to stop osteoporosis are making a difference in the effects of this problem. Both doctors and patients still need more education about this disease.

For example, not all doctors are checking for osteoporosis. Patients with a hip fracture sometimes go home from the hospital without receiving treatment for osteoporosis. Likewise, it isn't clear if patients who are given the drugs actually take them once they get home. More research is needed to answer this question.

Michael J. Gardner, MD, et al. Improvement in the Undertreatment of Osteoporosis Following Hip Fracture. In Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. August 2002. Vol. 84-A. No. 8. Pp. 1342-1348.

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