A comprehensive Argentinean epidemiological study reveals the staggering costs of osteoporosis in the country.
The key findings of the article published in April 2010 in the scientific journal "Archives of Osteoporosis", include:
- In Argentina, bone mineral density studies reveal that one out of three women aged 50 or over suffers from osteoporosis.
- The prevalence of vertebral fractures in Argentinean women aged 50 or older is 16%.
- Over 34.000 hip fractures occur every year among the 50 years or older population, with an average of 90 fractures per day.
- The cost of vertebral and hip osteoporotic fractures is estimated in approximately 250 million dollars per year in Argentina.
- Risk factors for hip fracture include cognitive impairment, previous falls, low calcium intake during youth, vitamin D deficiency, advanced age, and current low calcium intake.
Scientific Director Prof. Dr. José R. Zanchetta provided an update on the incidence of hip fractures and the prevalence of vertebral fractures in Argentina, along with findings from the recent study on epidemiology, costs and burden of osteoporosis in Argentina. The research carried out by Dr. Francisco R. Spivacow and Dr. Ariel Sánchez, was possible thanks to an International Osteoporosis Foundation educational grant and guidelines for research and study methodology on a global basis.
In 2009, the total population of Argentina was slightly over 40 million, with about 10 million inhabitants aged 50 or more. The Argentinean population is expected to grow 13% by 2050, reaching 53 million with 19.5 million people aged 50 or older.
Local bone mineral density studies reveal that two out of four postmenopausal women have osteopenia, one has osteoporosis, and one has a normal bone mineral density. Around 3.3 million women will suffer from osteopenia in 2025 and 5.24 million in 2050. Although the rate of fragility fractures is higher in patients with osteoporosis, the absolute number of fractures is higher in osteopenic patients.
In Argentina, the mean annual rate of hip fractures is 488/100.000 inhabitants aged above 50, with a 2.6:1 ratio women to men. Thus, over 34.000 hip fractures occur every year among the aged population with an average of 90 such fractures per day. The Latin American Vertebral Osteoporosis Study found an overall 16% prevalence of vertebral fractures in Argentinean women aged 50 years or over. (Latin American Vertebral Osteoporosis Study, June 2008).
The research concludes that the hospitalization costs of hip fractures and vertebral fractures in Argentina exceed 250 million USD per year; representing enormous costs to the public health system. These costs do not capture the human and longterm socio-economic impact of osteoporotic fractures, which include loss of quality of life, significant burden of care for families, and in many cases, the loss of independence in old age.
The researchers issued a call to improve the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis in an effort to prevent fractures and their resulting socio-economic costs.