Study: Osteoporosis plan could cut hip fractures by 25% nationally

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More active osteoporosis disease management could cut the rate of hip fractures in the United States by 25%, according to a new Kaiser Permanent study. Researchers recommend increased use of bone scans, as well as greater use of anti-osteoporosis medications.

The study followed 650,000 people older than 50 through Kaiser's “Healthy Bones” hip management program from 2002 to 2007. The annual numbers of bone scans rose 263%, and the number of individuals on anti-osteoporosis medications jumped 153% over the test period. One result was a 38% drop in the hip fracture rate, researchers said.

More than 300,000 hip fractures are reported annually in the United States. About 24% of individuals suffering a hip fracture wind up in a nursing home.

"Simple steps like suggesting calcium and vitamin D for all your patients and bone mineral density testing in patients at higher risk for osteoporosis should be considered part of your daily practice,” lead researcher Richard M. Dell, MD, directed at orthopedic surgeons. More on the study appears in the November issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.