Patients, healthcare professionals miscommunicate on osteoporosis prevention, treatment, study finds

Researchers have recently found that, when it comes to osteoporosis management and treatment, patients and their healthcare providers often misunderstand one another and even the disease itself.

A survey published in the Archives of Osteoporosis determined that individuals who seek treatment for the condition often know less about it than they believe they do.

A international team of medical researchers found that while 1 percent of doctors could not identify the risk factors of osteoporosis - including aging, a family history of the disease, low calcium intake and being female or having decreased testosterone as a male - a full one third of patients could not name one either.



Likewise, while 29 percent of patients admitted to occasionally forgetting to take their prescription medications, their physicians estimated that the figure is closer to 70 percent.



However, patients were not the only ones whose expectations did not match up to either the doctors' or the reality of the disease.

Healthcare professionals surveyed in the study significantly underestimated the amount of time that their patients forget to take treatments. Those with osteoporosis reported an average lapse of five and a half months. Their doctors estimates were closer to three months.

Doctors also tended to be underinformed about their patients' concerns about the effects of osteoporosis.

Compared to their physicians, about twice as many patients reported being worried about osteoporosis making them less active, more dependent on others and more likely to retire sooner.

The study's authors concluded that so many misconceptions indicate a disconnect between healthcare professionals and their osteoporotic patients. They recommended that both groups turn to community service organizations and advocacy groups, which may be able to facilitate more communication between the two and improve health education.

Osteoporosis affects up to 15 percent of the U.S. population, according to the National Institutes of Health. 
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