Friday, March 12, 1999 Published at 04:01 GMT
Osteoporosis treatment set for overhaul
Osteoporosis causes brittle bones
NHS managers are to be issued with guidelines on how to prevent and treat osteoporosis, a disease which threatens to overwhelm the health service.
Instead the college said resources should be targeted at those most at risk.
Osteoporosis, or brittle bone disease, affects approximately 40% of women over 70 years of age, causing severe pain and disability to individual sufferers.
More than a third of adult women will sustain one or more osteoporotic fractures in their lifetime.
Men are also at risk from osteoporosis and the ageing of the UK population means that the number of fractures will double in 50 years if changes are not made in present practice.
It is thought the disease may also be caused by the increasingly sedentary lifestyle of the population as a whole.
The new guidelines have been produced by the RCP at the request of the Department of Health. It is concerned that, in the absence of a best practice guide, local treatment strategies varied greatly.
The guidelines were drafted by a small expert group, who consulted widely with experts in the field.
They identify the following points:
He said: "If osteoporosis care and prevention is not revamped the prevelance will increase and the cost to the nation will rise, both in financial and social terms.
"This guidance should make an important contribution to the health of the nation by targeting those most at risk."
Linda Edwards, Director of the National Osteoporosis Society (NOS) said: "The launch of this new report provides a real opportunity for all healthcare professionals, working within the many areas of medicine affected by osteoporosis, to obtain the first definitive, evidence-based guide to managing the disease.
"We particularly encourage health authorities and primary care groups to implement the recommendations of the report within their own strategies for osteoporosis."