IOF releases new study that reveals gaps in doctor and patient understanding of osteoporosis

According to a new study by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), patients and doctors have very different perceptions of osteoporosis management. The research - which included 844 postmenopausal patients over the age of 55, and 837 doctors from 13 countries - shows the variances between the understanding that patients and doctors have regarding the physical and emotional impacts of the condition.

In addition, the study demonstrates the barriers that keep patients from adhering to their treatment guidelines, as well as how patients who have osteoporosis can share information about how to manage their disease.

Among the findings was the fact that patients are not as informed as they think they are, and they worry about fractures and quality of life but do not always follow treatment guidelines. The results also revealed that doctors frequently underestimate their patients' adherence to treatment, as well as their worries about fractures and the impact of the condition on quality of life.

However, 80 percent of doctors in the study said that they would be willing to hand out educational material to improve their patients' adherence to treatment guidelines. Additionally, 76 percent said that they would recommend patient osteoporosis management programs.

"As this survey revealed, patient and doctor misconceptions exist on a number of levels," said Patrice McKenney, IOF CEO. "Community-based online support programs have a great potential to fill these information gaps. They can help patients share their concerns, improve patient-doctor dialogue, allow patient-to-patient contact, encourage long-term adherence to prescribed treatment and help patients to maintain or improve quality of life."

According to the IOF, one in three women and one in five men over 50 will experience fractures due to osteoporosis. Currently, osteoporosis affects as many as 44 million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health. 
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