Most people of a certain age come to understand the importance of good bone health. Beyond instructing our children to “drink your milk”, we have watched our relatives and loved ones suffer fractures of the hip, spine and wrist, from seemingly modest falls, or even from no fall at all. We understand the pain and physical limitations that result from these injuries. But few are fully aware of the prevalence of the problem, or the profound impact such fractures can have.
Recounting a few simple statistics helps to put some perspective on the nature and extent of the problem. In 2003, there were 310,000 hospitalizations for hip fracture in the US, but the majority, 80%, were neither diagnosed nor treated in advance of suffering injury1. Of those, 60% never regained their previous level of function2, 33% ended up in nursing homes3 and 20-25% died within one year4. One in two women over 50, and one in three men, will suffer an osteoporotic fracture over the course of their lifetime5. In fact, for women the risk of such fractures is equal to the risk of stroke, heart attack and breast cancer combined6. The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that nine million Americans have Osteoporosis and another 43 million have low bone density, known as Osteopenia, placing all at increased risk of fracture. By 2050 these incidences are expected to triple as the population ages worldwide.
These statistics are shocking; however, public awareness of the problem is limited. Innovative solutions are required to effect change, and reverse the current trend.
We want to assure you that we at Active Life Scientific, in cooperation with renowned researchers in the US and worldwide, are focused on the problem and working diligently to find solutions. We hope to provide this blog in an ongoing manner to increase your understanding and awareness of the field, highlight promising research in simple terms, and help create momentum for change. Please check back often for new posts, engage your friends, and together we can work improve these statistics for ourselves and our families.
Next post – The Limitations of Bone Mineral Density: why calcium is just part of the story.
- 1. Gullberg B, Johnell O, Kanis JA (1997) World-wide projections for hip fracture. Osteoporos Int 7:407.
- 2. Magaziner J, Simonsick EM, Kashner TM, et al. (1990) Predictors of functional recovery one year following hospital discharge for hip fracture: a prospective study. J Gerontol 45:M101.
- 3. Leibson CL, Tosteson AN, Gabriel SE, et al. (2002) Mortality, disability, and nursing home use for persons with and without hip fracture: a population-based study. J Am Geriatr Soc 50:1644.
- 4. Cooper C, Atkinson EJ, Jacobsen SJ, et al. (1993) Population-based study of survival after osteoporotic fractures. Am J Epidemiol 137:1001.
- 5. Melton LJ, 3rd, Crowson CS, O’Fallon WM (1999) Fracture incidence in Olmsted County, Minnesota: comparison of urban with rural rates and changes in urban rates over time. Osteoporos Int 9:29.
- 6. National Osteoporosis Foundation: http://nof.org/files/nof/public/content/file/2681/upload/899.pdf