Background Osteoporosis (OP) is associated with pain, disability and increased mortality1. For being a silent disease and recognized by the general population as an aging disease2 a population with OP and an older population can be more aware of its severity.
Objectives To evaluate subjects’ perceptions on OP including its severity degree, in individuals in the general population and individuals in a high risk of fracture (HRF) population, comparing subjects with and without self-reported OP.
Methods A cross sectional survey was performed including a representative sample of the Portuguese population aged ≥50 years (selected by a random route method, door to door) and a HRF population (convenience sample, selected randomly from nursing homes and long term facilities from Mainland Portugal). Inclusion criteria for the HRF population are age ≥50 years, history of femoral neck fracture on the 24 months prior and absence of cognitive limitations. Survey included demographics and clinical variables. A descriptive analysis was performed for all variables, including relative frequencies for categorical variables and mean ± standard deviation for continuous variables. T-test was performed for the study hypothesis. 95% Confidence intervals (CI) are determined and all calculations assume a 5% significance level.
Results The analyses included 2007 subjects from the general population (mean age 65.3±10.4 years; 55.2% female). 62 subjects self-reported OP (3.1%; 95% CI:2.4%>3.9%). The HRF population included 419 subjects (mean age 78.3±7.8), being 70.4% female. 37.5% self-reported OP (n=157; 95% CI: 32.9%>42.2%). In a scale from 1 (no severity) to 10 (maximum severity), the general population graded OP as 5.7±2.0. Self-reporting OP subjects significantly graded this disease as more severe than the remaining population (7.6±1.9 vs. 5.7±2.0; p<0.001). The HRF population graded OP with a 6.8±2.2 score. Subjects who self-report OP in this population significantly graded this disease as more severe than the remaining subjects (7.9±1.7 vs. 6.4±2.2; p<0.001). The HRF population significantly graded OP as a more severe disease than the general population (5.7±2.0 vs. 6.8±2.2; p<0.001). When asked about their concern regarding OP, in a scale from 1 (no concern) to 10 (maximum concern), the mean level on the general population was 5.7±2.4. Subjects in this population with self-reported OP significantly revealed more concern with this disease than subjects without OP (8.2±2.1 vs. 5.6±2.4; p<0.001). The mean level of concern on the high risk of fracture population was 6.8±2.5. Within this population, subjects who self-reported OP significantly revealed more concern with this disease than subjects without self-reported OP (8.1±2.0 vs. 6.1±2.5; p<0.001).
Conclusions The high risk population understands OP as a more severe disease than the general population. Moreover, subjects with self-reported OP tend to grade OP as a more serious disease when comparing with subjects without OP, in both studied populations. Awareness of this disease must be improved in order to trigger prevention measures especially for the general population.
American College of Rheumatology. The Role of Rheumatologists in the Management of Osteoporosis – Position statement.
Werner P. Knowledge about osteoporosis: assessment, correlates and outcomes. Osteoporos Int 2005;16(2):115-27.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared