Bone Density Screenings Among the Diabetic Population

Student Author(s)

Alissa Boone

Faculty Mentor(s)

Anne McKay ANPBC, CCD, and Barbara Vincensi PhD, RN, FNP

Document Type


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Diabetic osteoporosis is a metabolic bone disease that increases the possibility of fracture, secondary changes in bone tissue, decreased bone strength and increased friability. Osteoporosis is a health concern among the diabetic population that is currently under-screened and under-diagnosed. Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is the gold standard measure of bone density. Implementing DXA screening for osteoporosis can help prevent fragility fractures. The purpose of this retrospective chart review was to describe the screening patterns of primary care providers, using DXA scans in the diabetic population. Dorthea Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Theory was the framework of this study: Orem believed individuals should be self-reliant. Self-reliance is taken away from patients when fragility fractures occur. A convenience sample of 297 diabetic patients was identified from the databases of three primary care physicians in West Michigan. Data was analyzed using SPSS 19. Only 26% of females (≥ 65 years) and <1% of males (≥ 70 years) had DXA scans ordered with results interpreted. In conclusion, primary care providers need to increase rates of osteoporosis screening in their diabetic patients. The limitations included: patients selected were all from one practice, it was a convenience sample, patient’s current medications were not considered, other comorbidities were unknown, and the sample was mostly composed of white females. The implications of this study for nurses is we need to educate our patients on the importance of secondary prevention methods such as DXA scans, as well as advocate for them to receive early screening.

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