April 25 (UPI) -- Stroke survivors have four times the risk of developing osteoporosis, a new study says.
And yet most survivors don't receive screenings or treatment for the dangerous bone condition, according to research published in April in Stroke.
"Our study adds to previous research that found despite an increased risk, only a small number of people who have recently had a stroke are tested and treated for osteoporosis," Moira Kapral, a researcher at University of Toronto Medicine and study lead author, said in a news release.
The study included people older than 65 who had gone to the emergency department or received treatment for strokes between July 1, 2003 and March 31, 2013. Researchers reviewed data on the patients' bone density, prescription medications and deaths.
Among those who survived strokes, only 5.1 percent got tested for bone density and fewer than 16 percent received medications for osteoporosis a year following the stroke.
Also, fewer than one-third of aging American women get screened for osteoporosis, while the treatment rate for some people at high risk for the condition only reaches 30 percent.
The people most likely to receive medication for osteoporosis include women, those diagnosed with the condition, those who had broken bones in the past, those who had already taken a bone density test and those who fell or broke bones following a stroke.
The lower bone density brought on by a stroke can reduce a person's ability to move around, which increases the likelihood of them falling and breaking bones.
Each year, close to 800,000 people suffer a stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"This study offers more evidence that there is a missed opportunity to identify people with stroke at increased risk for fractures and to initiate treatment to prevent bone loss and fractures," Kapral said.