Archives of Osteoporosis

, 8:117

Awareness of osteoporosis, risk and protective factors and own diagnostic status: a cross-sectional study

  • Danielle Ní Chróinín
  • Patricia Glavin
  • Dermot Power
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11657-012-0117-9

Cite this article as:
Ní Chróinín, D., Glavin, P. & Power, D. Arch Osteoporos (2013) 8: 117. doi:10.1007/s11657-012-0117-9

Abstract

Summary

We conducted a cross-sectional study of the understanding on osteoporosis amongst community-dwelling geriatric patients. Patient understanding on the pathology, risk factors and its complications was suboptimal, but better amongst women and persons with diagnosed osteoporosis. Improving patient osteoporosis education may lead to improved compliance with preventive and therapeutic measures.

Purpose

Osteoporosis is often preventable and treatable. Establishing levels of understanding in an Irish population will help inform future public and patient education.

Methods

We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 126 randomly selected geriatric day hospital patients, interviewing next of kin where abbreviated mental test score was <6. Questions assessed awareness of (1) basic pathology, (2) predisposing and protective factors, (3) complications and (4) personal osteoporosis status and treatment.

Results

Participants included 103 patients and 23 carers; 78.6 % were female; patients’ mean age was 81.6 years. Of the patients surveyed, 87.3 % had heard of osteoporosis; 56.1 % knew affected bone; and 30.2 % were cognisant of architectural change. About 65.9 % reported that a doctor had never discussed the condition; 92.9 % correctly identified whether diagnosed with osteoporosis, and >96 % correctly identified their treatment status. Rates of risk factor identification were as follows: 88.9 % for ageing, 83.8 % female gender, 65.1 % smoking, 62.4 % low BMI and 51.6 % alcohol excess; <10 % identified other risk factors. Awareness of complications ranged from 91.3 % for fractures to 44.4 % for height loss. Awareness of protective factors (calcium/vitamin D-rich food, medication and exercise) was >85 % for each. More women had heard of osteoporosis (p = 0.02), knew affected bone (p = 0.005) and recognised gender as a risk factor (p = 0.015) and pain (p = 0.05) or kyphosis (p = 0.014) as complications. Osteoporotic patients (N = 38) were more likely to know it as affected bone (p = 0.006). Amongst patients surveyed [abbreviated mental test score (AMTS) 6–10], AMTS score did not predict understanding. Age did not predict understanding, nor were next of kin more likely to understand osteoporosis than patients.

Conclusion

There is scope for enhancing patient osteoporosis education, which may improve compliance with preventive and therapeutic measures.

Keywords

Osteoporosis Comprehension Awareness Bone and bones 

Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danielle Ní Chróinín
    • 1
  • Patricia Glavin
    • 2
  • Dermot Power
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Geriatric MedicineBeaumont HospitalDublin 11Ireland
  2. 2.Charleville Family PracticeCo. CorkIreland
  3. 3.Department of Medicine for the Older PersonSt. Mary’s HospitalDublin 20Ireland
  4. 4.Department of Medicine for the Older PersonMater Misericordiae University HospitalDublin 7Ireland

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