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STANFORD, Calif., Jul 21, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A Stanford University study said Wednesday despite recent advances in treating osteoporosis, millions of sufferers go undiagnosed.
The study by Stanford's medical school warned such sufferers may learn of their disease only when they suffer a fracture.
Writing in the July 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, the research group estimates only fewer than half of the people with osteoporosis have been diagnosed.
"If a person's doctor hasn't diagnosed osteoporosis, there's no way they could be on optimal treatment for their bone condition," said Randall Stafford, who led the study.
Osteoporosis is a disease that makes bones more fragile and prone to break. The study found 3.5 million patients visited their doctors last year for treatment, compared with just half a million in 1994.
For these patients, new medications provide easier and more effective treatments than were available in the past.
But despite this progress, the study said about 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and 34 million more are at risk.
Copyright 2004 by United Press International.