The results of the first osteoporosis screening campaign, launched on the Government’s initiative in August 2009, show the need for such a programme. 43% of the patients who were asked to undergo a bone density scan showed they were suffering from an ignored osteoporosis problem.
Screening, fully paid for by the DASS, concerned women living in the Principality aged between 60 and 75, known as “naive”, i.e. presenting no risk factor and never having had a bone density scan.
In the light of the indisputable results of this public health campaign, the Department of Social Affairs and Health has decided to extend the age bracket from 55 to 80 years old. Consequently women within this new age group will shortly be concerned by this campaign.
In practical terms:
The women concerned will be asked to take part in the two-phase screening programme by post:
- first of all, they will have to undergo a bone density scan in a medical imaging centre. This painless examination shows the patient's bone mass and the potential risk of osteoporosis and therefore of fracture.
- Patients then make an appointment at the Princess Grace Hospital to collect the results from the rheumatologist.
The screening, totally free of charge, is covered by the DASS.
Why should you be screened for osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease that develops slowly and insidiously as most often its causes no pain before the first fracture. It mainly affects post-menopausal women over 50 and primarily from the age of 60.
Preventing the first fracture is important as this can be a source of pain, handicap and hospitalisation. The fracture most often concerns the wrists, the dorsal and lumbar vertebrae and the neck of the femur which can be life-threatening in the latter case.
The relevance of screening is reinforced by the existence of therapeutic and non therapeutic measures which enable a gain in bone mass, and thus a reduction in the risk of fracture in the event of a fall.