UAE doctors seek increased testing for Osteoporosis
Ras Al Khaimah, April 4, 2011
UAE doctors have called for an increase in screening for Osteoporosis after a local audit revealed the country has a comparatively low number of specialist screening machines.
The audit of Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) machines that detect bone density was carried out by Dr Mustafa Ali Izzi, chairman of the Emirates Osteoporosis Society, as part of a global study by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF).
The IOF recommends one DEXA machine per 10,000 head of population. The UAE audit found that the country has one machine per 100,000 of which many are under-utilised, suggesting that many with osteoporosis, which affects one in three women in a lifetime, are going undetected.
“All the osteoporosis societies all over the world fed into the IOF audit report. We calculated the UAE data and found that we have approximately one DEXA machine per 100,000 head of population which is well below than the one in 10,000 recommended by the IOF,” said Dr Al Izzi, at the recent Integrated Osteoporosis Workshop in Ras Al Khaimah.
“Even the more developed Western countries do not meet the IOF’s recommendation but what we also saw in the UAE was that the machines we do have are not used fully; so today we are calling on women, especially whose aged above menopause, to come forward to have their bone density measured so that we can determine if they are at risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures so we can start early treatment to help prevent or slowdown the disease,” added Dr Al Izzi.
Chairman of the Emirates Society of Rheumatology, Dr Mustafa Al Maini, added: “I think the medical community in general, including rheumatologists and primary care doctors, must help to raise public awareness of the need for DEXA screening to detect osteoporosis. We need to target post-menopausal women and older men for bone screening and young people for vitamin D deficiency, which weakens the bones and is a risk factor for osteoporosis later in life.’
More than 100 doctors attended The Integrated Osteoporosis Workshop, which was jointly organised by the Emirates Osteoporosis Society and the Emirates Society of Rheumatology, where they also heard details of a new once yearly treatment for osteoporosis.
Treating osteoporosis involves slowing down resorption of the bones using bisphosphonate drugs, which are either taken orally weekly or monthly, however, a new innovation means that there is now an infusion that only needs to be administered once yearly.
“The fact that we have a drug that can be given as a once yearly infusion is appreciated as very convenient by patients and the reduction in fractures is highly beneficial and protective,” said Dr. Serge Ferrari, professor of medicine, Division of Bone Diseases and WHO Collaborating Center for Osteoporosis Prevention, Department of Rehabilitation and Geriatrics, Geneva University Hospital, Switzerland.
“Once yearly administration secures 100 percent compliance with treatment for one year, which is a major challenge for patients on long-term therapy,” added Dr Ferrari, a world renowned expert in osteoporosis who presented the latest data on the disease’s management care at the workshop. –TradeArabia News Service