[ASC-media] Many men and rural folk miss out on bone tests

IM Thinking ian at imthinking.com.au
Sun Mar 22 12:31:48 CET 2009

Media Release
Sunday 22 March 2009

Contact: Ian Muchamore, IM Thinking
Email:ian at imthinking.com.au
Tel: 0415 551 705

Many Australians at risk of the bone condition osteoporosis are not getting 
the bone density tests that could pick up the problem.

The findings will be presented on Monday at an international bone health 
meeting in Sydney. Almost 1000 clinicians, researchers and international 
experts in bone health will attend the meeting.

Researchers examined Medicare claims for bone density testing, which is the 
gold standard in detecting osteoporosis.

Medicare claims in 2005 suggest that men in major cities were almost five 
times less likely than women to have a bone density test. Whilst bone health 
problems in men are somewhat less common than in women it still appears that 
large numbers of men at risk of fractures are missing out on the bone scans.

Researcher Dr Tania Winzenberg, presenting at the Sydney meeting, said "We 
are failing to pick up those individuals who have already had a minor 
fracture. This is the group that has the most to gain from osteoporosis 

In April 2007 the government widened the Medicare rebate for bone health 
assessment such that all Australians over 70 years old are now eligible for 
bone density testing.

The research analysis also highlighted low levels of bone density testing 
amongst both men and women in rural and remote areas.

Despite the recent Medicare changes Dr Dan Ewald said "the barriers to bone 
health assessment in men and rural populations are likely to remain. These 
include access to a general practitioner, competing primary care issues and 
the availability of scanners Perhaps above all the issue remains that many 
professionals and patients still see osteoporosis as a women's health 

Further Information
The 2nd Joint Meeting of the International Bone and Mineral Society and the 
Australian and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society will be held at the 
Sydney Exhibition and Convention Centre from 21-25 March 2009.

The findings are published in the Medical Journal of Australia 2009; 190 
(3): 126-128. Population rates of bone densitometry use in Australia, 
2001-2005, by sex and rural versus urban location.  Dan P Ewald, John A 
Eisman, Ben D Ewald, Tania M Winzenberg, Markus J Seibel, Peter R Ebeling, 
Leon A Flicker and Peter T Nash


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