Reasons for referral to bone densitometry in men and women aged 20-49 years : population-based data

Torpy, Alice M. J., Brennan, Sharon L., Kotowicz, Mark A. and Pasco, Julie A. 2012, Reasons for referral to bone densitometry in men and women aged 20-49 years : population-based data, Archives of osteoporosis, vol. 7, no. 1-2, pp. 173-178.

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Title Reasons for referral to bone densitometry in men and women aged 20-49 years : population-based data
Author(s) Torpy, Alice M. J.
Brennan, Sharon L.
Kotowicz, Mark A.
Pasco, Julie A.
Journal name Archives of osteoporosis
Volume number 7
Issue number 1-2
Start page 173
End page 178
Total pages 6
Publisher Springer UK
Place of publication Surrey, England
Publication date 2012-12
ISSN 1862-3514
Keyword(s) bone densitometry
health service utilisation
young adults
Summary Introduction Osteoporosis poses a significant public health problem for ageing Australians. However, approximately 25 % of Australian adults aged 20–49 years have osteopenia, a precursor condition to osteoporosis. Despite this, little is known about bone density testing in this age group.

Methods Reasons for referral to dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) were examined in 2,264 patients aged 20–49 years, referred in 2001–2010 to the Geelong Bone Densitometry Service, Geelong Hospital, Victoria. Referral reasons were determined from clinical indication codes derived from patient records. Age, sex and bone mineral density (BMD) T scores were ascertained for each patient.

Results The most common reason for referral for women reflected glucocorticoid use, and for men reflected fracture. Compared to women, men were more likely to have been referred because of minimal trauma fracture or low BMD (41.7 versus 27.1 %, p < 0.001). No further differences were identified between the sexes, with similar numbers of referral observed for secondary osteoporosis, and monitoring of drug therapy. At the spine, and for all indications, men had a significantly greater BMD deficit compared to women (all p ≤ 0.002). After age adjustment, men who were tested due to fracture or glucocorticoid reasons had significantly greater BMD at the total hip (p ≤ 0.03). No further associations were seen after age adjustment between referral reason and BMD.

Conclusions Our study presents the first data examining reasons for referral to DXA among Australians aged 20–49 years. Understanding health service utilisation regarding bone health in young adults is fundamental to understanding future risk, informing effective public health messages and raising awareness of osteoporosis.
Language eng
Field of Research 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2012, International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Medicine
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