Measuring device for the early detection of osteoporosis
Around six million people in Germany suffer from osteoporosis. Affected people often do not notice their illness for a long time. Sooner or later, the bone loss leads to a significant reduction in the quality of life for the patients. Scientists are currently developing a measuring device for the early detection or identification of people with a high risk of osteoporosis.
One of the most common diseases in the world
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), osteoporosis is one of the ten most common diseases worldwide. Around six million people suffer from it in Germany. The metabolic disease of the bones is also described as a "quiet epidemic of the 21st century". Quiet because brittle bones don't hurt themselves and there are no early warning systems. In the future, however, a measuring device could contribute to the early detection of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is often recognized late
Osteoporosis mainly affects older people, especially women. Men are relatively less affected by bone loss.
According to the "International Osteoporosis Foundation" (IOF), however, less than a quarter of all cases of osteoporosis are diagnosed early and treated appropriately.
In a press release, the experts explained why millions of osteoporosis patients are not getting a correct diagnosis.
In the future, a measuring device for the early detection or identification of people at high risk of developing osteoporosis could contribute.
This is being developed as part of a research project supported by the European Union, reports the Med Uni Graz in a press release.
Increased risk of broken bones
"In osteoporosis, there is an imbalance between the build-up and breakdown of bone tissue," explains Univ.-Prof. Dr. Hans Peter Dimai, expert in osteoporosis at the Med Uni Graz.
"As a result of the predominant breakdown, the bone substance shrinks, which ultimately increases the risk of broken bones."
Typically, the following bones are most commonly affected by osteoporosis-related fractures: the vertebral body, femur near the hip, forearm near the wrist, humerus and pelvis.
"However, the increased susceptibility to fractures can affect the entire skeleton," adds Dr. Dimai.
In addition to advanced age, family history, estrogen deficiency, too little exercise, excessive consumption of tobacco and alcohol, vitamin D deficiency is one of the possible causes of osteoporosis.
For this reason, experts repeatedly refer to the fact that adequate sun refueling is an important contribution to protecting yourself against osteoporosis.
It is generally advisable to prevent osteoporosis before the bones shrink. The best prevention is, according to experts, trained muscles and a generally healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet.
The quality of life of those affected drops
As a result of the aging population, osteoporosis has become a major health issue.
"The fractures caused by bone loss not only reduce the quality of life of those affected, the disease is also associated with far-reaching consequences," says Dr. Dimai.
"Especially fractures of the femoral neck are associated with a significantly higher mortality rate in older age."
In the past few years, a number of very meaningful non-invasive methods for determining the risk of osteoporosis and for diagnosing osteoporosis have been developed.
However, apart from highly specialized research institutions and centers, there is no meaningful biomarker or easy-to-use measuring devices that could provide information about the individual risk of osteoporosis during a doctor's visit.
Tool for early detection of osteoporosis
This is where the research project "PoCOsteo" ("Point-of-care in-office device for identifying individuals at high risk of osteoporosis and osteoporotic fracture"), coordinated by the University of Gent, comes into play.
The research goal is to develop an easy-to-use tool for the early detection of osteoporosis or an impending fracture.
"Our goal is to develop a whole blood point-of-care measuring device that can also be used outside of highly specialized centers in the fight against osteoporosis," said Dr. Dimai.
The examinations are carried out at the Medical University of Graz, among others.
"The great advantage of the new procedure for assessing the individual risk of osteoporosis will not only lie in its ease of use, but above all in the fact that the test can be carried out inexpensively and in real time while visiting the doctor," explains the Austrian scientist. (ad)