Prevalence and awareness of osteoporosis among postmenopausal Palestinian women
Darwish, Hisham M.
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Summary The prevalence and awareness of postmenopausal osteoporosis was assessed among 569 postmenopausal women randomly selected from the population. Osteoporosis was assessed based on bone mineral density (BMD) values at three indicative sites. The results indicate a significant prevalence of the disease among this fraction of the population with a poor knowledge of its risk factors. Introduction Postmenopausal osteoporosis is a major health problem at the individual and population levels. Assessment of its prevalence and awareness of risk factors provide the basis for health plans to control the disease. No previous studies have been done in our population. A cross-sectional study including 569 postmenopausal women showed a significant prevalence of osteoporosis with a poor awareness of risk factors. Methods Included in the study were 569 randomly selected postmenopausal women (≥49 years of age). BMD was measured in 505 subjects at the lumbar spine, femoral neck and total hip using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. Awareness was evaluated using a special questionnaire. Results Osteoporosis affected the lumbar spine, femoral neck and total hip in 24%, 14% and 29.7% of subjects, respectively. There was a significant negative correlation (p<0.001) between age and number of years since menopause and BMD at all the sites evaluated. Conversely, BMD increased at the three sites as weight, height and BMI increased. There was a significant positive correlation between BMD at the three sites and the physical characteristics of the subjects (weight, height and BMI) (p<0.001 at the hip and femoral neck, and p=0.05 at the lumbar spine). BMD was higher at the lumbar spine and femoral neck among subjects aware of the disease (0.893 and 0.746 g/cm2, respectively) than among subjects unaware of the disease (0.835 and 0.712 g/cm2, respectively). This investigation is the first among Palestinian women in this region. It indicates the urgent need for a comprehensive national programme to reduce the incidence of osteoporosis. Conclusion Postmenopausal osteoporosis is significant among the Palestinian population and there is a poor awareness of the risk factors.