MINOR falls in the home can have devastating and sometimes fatal consequences – as well as costing billions in treatments for fractures and other complications.
Now the President of the International Osteoporosis Foundation is calling for immediate action for bone health.
Professor Cyrus Cooper said: “The pandemic’s continuing toll on bone health is of global concern. Osteoporosis-related fractures are a major cause of pain, disability, and loss of independence in older adults.”
Osteoporosis is a common bone disorder that leads to weak and fragile bones which fracture easily. An osteoporotic fracture typically occurs as a result of a minor fall from standing height, or even from bending to pick up a grocery bag.
Prof Cooper added: “Such life-changing injuries can be prevented with life-long attention to bone health, and early diagnosis and appropriate treatment for those at risk.”
“Osteoporosis remains vastly under-diagnosed and under-treated. Even after an osteoporotic fracture, approximately 80% of patients are not assessed or treated for the underlying cause.
“This is inexcusable and in stark contrast to cardiovascular disease prevention, where patients are routinely treated for high blood pressure or cholesterol to avoid potential strokes or heart attacks.”
Worldwide, osteoporosis-related fractures affect up to one in three women and one in five men aged 50 years and over. About nine million fractures occur annually, with an enormous impact on patients and their families as well as on healthcare systems.
Spine and hip fractures have the most severe consequences and result in enormous long-term medical costs.
Because of the disability and loss of function following a hip fracture, one in three of hip fracture patients are totally dependent or in a nursing home in the year following the fracture.