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Nelson RE, Nebeker JR, Sauer BC, LaFleur J. Factors associated with screening or treatment initiation among male United States veterans at risk for osteoporosis fracture. Bone. 2012 Apr 1; 50(4):983-8.
Male osteoporosis continues to be under-recognized and undertreated in men. An understanding of which factors cue clinicians about osteoporosis risk in men, and which do not, is needed to identify areas for improvement. This study sought to measure the association of a provider's recognition of osteoporosis with patient information constructs that are available at the time of each encounter. Using clinical and administrative data from the Veterans Health Administration system, we used a stepwise procedure to construct prognostic models for a combined outcome of osteoporosis diagnosis, treatment, or a bone mineral density (BMD) test order using time-varying covariates and Cox regression. We ran separate models for patients with at least one primary care visit and patients with only secondary care visits in the pre-index period. Some of the strongest predictors of clinical osteoporosis identification were history of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist exposure, fragility fractures, and diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. Other characteristics associated with a higher likelihood of having osteoporosis risk recognized were underweight or normal body mass index, cancer, fall history, and thyroid disease. Medication exposures associated with osteoporosis risk recognition included opioids, glucocorticoids, and antidepressants. Several known clinical risk factors for fracture were not correlated with osteoporosis risk including smoking and alcohol abuse. Results suggest that clinicians are relying on some, but not all, clinical risk factors when assessing osteoporosis risk.