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Loyola Physician Helps Develop National Guidlines For Osteoporosis

January 25, 2011

Recommendations provide diagnosis, treatment guidance for postmenopausal women

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) has released new medical guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Loyola physician Pauline Camacho, MD, was part of a committee that developed the guidelines to manage this major public health issue.

These recommendations were developed to reduce the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures and improve the quality of life for patients. They explain new treatment options and suggest the use of the FRAX tool (a fracture risk assessment tool developed by the World Health Organization) and the National Osteoporosis Foundation guide to identify candidates for treatment.

“Less than one-third of osteoporosis cases are diagnosed, and only one-seventh of American women with osteoporosis receive treatment,” said co-author Pauline Camacho, MD, director of the Loyola University Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Disease Center. “These guidelines use evidence to help physicians better identify and care for these women.”

More than 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and approximately 35 million more have low bone mass and are at increased risk for developing osteoporosis and fractures. Approximately 80 percent of these are women, most of them postmenopausal. AACE recommends that high-risk postmenopausal women should be screened immediately and all women ages 65 and older should be tested routinely for the disease.

Hip fractures are the most serious complication of osteoporosis. Half of all patients who could walk independently are unable to do so one year after a hip fracture. A hip fracture leads to an increased mortality rate for two years following the break. More than half of the survivors are unable to return to independent living and many require long-term nursing home care.

“These guidelines take into consideration the economic impact of the disease,” Dr. Camacho said. “They stress the need for efficient and effective evaluation and treatment of these women to prevent further complications from arising.”

Treatment involves ensuring adequate intake of calcium, vitamin D and prescription medications as well as lifestyle modification focusing on exercise and fall prevention.

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