Ask, And It Will Be Given
The research team reviewed the medical records of all patients with RA who were seen within a two-month period in a large, academic rheumatology practice. Of the 623 patients with a diagnosisof RA, 236 were taking oral steroids. The treating physician notes, laboratory and imaging tests and medication information were reviewed for a two-year period.
The 236 RA patients on oral steroids were treated by 29 rheumatologists. The researchers found that only about 25% of the study patients had the recommended bone density testing or tookcalcium or vitamin D supplements. As well, over half were not receiving any medications to reduce bone loss. Men, premenopausal women, and those with another condition such as heart disease, were less likely to undergo bone density testing or to be prescribed osteoporosis medications.
The relevance to people with arthritis:
This study highlights the importance of continued monitoring of physician practices and patient outcomes. As explained by the lead investigator, Dan Solomon, MD: “Persons with rheumatoid arthritis who also use oral steroids are at a significant risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Effective treatments are available for osteoporosis but they are underused by many physicians. Greater attention to dissemination of information about effective treatments would help alleviate sub-optimal care of steroid-induced osteoporosis.”
My advise: Next time you visit your doctor... ask, ask, ask! Anything that comes to mind, no matter how futile it may seem. You may be glad you did and prevent future health-issues. After all, a doctor is human too and just like me (and you?), can't remember everything:-)
So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.