Warning over osteoporotic fractures

Reports suggest European healthcare systems are not doing enough to prevent 43,000 people from dying each year after osteoporotic fractures, with fears that costs will increase significantly by 2025.

Two reports on the issue were published this week – Osteoporosis in the European Union (EU), and the Scorecard for Osteoporosis in Europe. They explain and evaluate the epidemiology, burden and management of osteoporosis and fractures in all 27 EU nations.

In the EU, 22 million women and 5.5 million men suffer from osteoporosis, which leads to 3.5 million new fractures every year. Fractures, of the hip in particular, result in severe pain, disability and even premature death.

Treating osteoporotic fractures costs the EU approximately 37 billion euros a year. Gulfs remain between levels of osteoporosis care in countries throughout Europe, with some not doing enough to lessen the risk of fractures.

The reports pointed to a predicted 22% rise in women and 17% increase in men over the age of 50 by 2025, which is set to lift the number of osteoporotic fractures significantly.

International Osteoporosis Foundation president Professor John Kanis has warned that 57% of high-risk individuals remain undiagnosed and untreated.

“European healthcare systems are poorly equipped to deal with the current burden of osteoporosis and the expected surge in the number of fracture patients in the coming years,” he said.