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Osteoporosis Assessment Service

Osteoporosis may be defined as a disorder resulting from the combination of low bone mass (osteopenia) and low trauma fractures.

Osteoporosis causes considerable morbidity and mortality and there is evidence that the burden of this condition is increasing for many reasons including the changing demographic structure of populations in Western Countries.

ONE IN TWO WOMEN AND ONE IN FIVE MEN ARE LIKELY TO SUSTAIN AN OSTEOPOROSIS-RELATED FRACTURE DURING THEIR LIFETIME.

It is now possible to determine an individual’s risk of osteoporosis and to monitor their response to treatment by means of bone densitometry. Many cases of osteoporosis are preventable and the current treatments are effective in reducing the number of further fractures in patients with established disease.

Risk factors for osteoporosis and/or fractures include:

• Age

• Female gender

• High alcohol consumption

• Smoking

• Reduced mobility e.g. long term illness or patients in hospital

• Hormonal problems, of many types

• Thin body type

• Heredity

• A range of bone-unfriendly drugs including aromatase inhibitors, glitazones, proton pump inhibitors, ovarian suppressing drugs, androgen deprivation therapy, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) anti-depressants, anti-coagulants and anti-convulsants.

The Ashtead Osteoporosis Assessment Service

This service at Ashtead Hospital, run by our Specialist Rheumatologist, Dr Darlington, is an independent service but works closely with GP colleagues and enhances an already established Osteoporosis Service by offering a “one-stop programme” with a diagnostic bone density scan in the morning and a consultation with advice and the commencement of treatment in the afternoon. All treatment advice will be accompanied by rapid reports to GP colleagues.

This rapid assessment service is of value in providing quick answers to specific queries and dealing with individual problems such as:

i. Assessment of bone density at the menopause, after fracture, and in patients with family histories of osteoporosis or who are taking drugs which induce osteoporosis.

ii. How to treat patients who cannot tolerate standard anti-osteoporotic treatments but who still need to be protected from osteoporosis.

iii. How to control pain from osteoporotic vertebral fractures without inducing analgesic dependence.

iv. How to improve on a patient’s lifestyle factors.