September 6, 2023 by
Lucy Gardner Carson
Jennifer Kelly, D.O., professor of medicine and director of the metabolic bone program
(SEPTEMBER 6, 2023) Jennifer Kelly, D.O., professor of medicine and director of the metabolic bone program at the University of Vermont Medical Center, commented to Medscape for a story on fractures in older patients.
While half the fracture-prevention battle is getting people diagnosed with low bone density, nearly 80 percent of older Americans who suffer bone breaks are not tested or treated for osteoporosis. Screening with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) is recommended for all women at age 65 and all men at age 70. A fracture in anyone over age 50 that appears not to have resulted from a traumatic blow, is a compelling reason to order a DEXA exam, Kelly said.
Whether a senior suffers a traumatic fracture or an osteoporosis-related fragility fracture, older age can impede the healing process in some. However, Kelly countered, fractures in elderly patients are not necessarily less likely to mend—if osteoporosis is not present. “Many heal very well—it really depends more upon their overall health and medical history. Whether or not a person requires surgery depends more upon the extent of the fracture and if the bone is able to align and heal appropriately without surgery.”
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