Hong Kong Med J 2008;14:203-8 | Number 3, June 2008
Osteoporosis: public awareness, commitment, and perspectives
Margaret WM Fok, HB Leung, WM Lee
Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Queen Mary Hospital, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
OBJECTIVE. To explore public awareness of osteoporosis and willingness to manage the problem, with reference to a variety of socio-economic factors.
DESIGN. Cross-sectional questionnaire study.
SETTING. A public hospital and a private health care clinic in Hong Kong.
PATIENTS. Two hundred and fifty postmenopausal women consisting of five equal cohorts recruited at random. The cohorts consisted of: patients with fragile fracture, their next-of-kin, patients (without fragile fractures) from a government primary health care clinic, patients from a government orthopaedic clinic, and patients from a private primary health care clinic.
RESULTS. Only 81% of those interviewed had heard of the disease. Among these, 92% believed that the government was responsible for managing osteoporosis. Most (83%) were willing to self-finance treatment; a higher percentage were willing to do so among those with relatives having osteoporotic fractures. Most (87%) of the subjects underestimated the cost. Less than 40% expected to pay more than HK$1200 annually. Given the current market price, only 66% would still consider undertaking the treatment. Notably, 99% of interviewees would commence treatment provided the cost was lower.
CONCLUSION. Direct costs of managing osteoporosis deter the public from commencing treatment. If the cost of treatment could be lowered and publicised, a dramatic increase in self-financed treatment can be anticipated.
Key words: Bone density; Diphosphonates; Fractures, bone; Osteoporosis, postmenopausal
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