Osteoporosis and bone fractures, a social problem

In Spain, osteoporosis affects 3,000,000 people, 2,500,000 of whom are women. Only 18% of this figure is diagnosed, and only 10% are undergoing treatment.

Risk factors in the development of osteoporosis

One of the most worrying facts is that 80% of the women affected are not aware of the risk factors for this disease. There are non-modifiable factors, such as the fact of being a woman, aging and family history; and modifiable factors, such as calcium deficiency, sedentary lifestyle and excessive consumption of tobacco, alcohol and coffee.

Another worrying factor is that osteoporosis is asymptomatic, so it is sometimes not detected until the fracture appears. In order of frequency, it is located in the hip, vertebrae, distal extremity of the radius (Colles fracture) and shoulder. In Spain, between 1990 and 2012, there was a 100% increase in hip fractures, approaching 60,000 cases.

It is important to address this problem, since 15% of cases die on admission, and between 15 and 30% do so during the first year.

The day-to-day life of a patient with osteoporosis: how to improve the prognosis

The creation of Orthogeriatrics units in Traumatology minimizes the consequences of this pathology, which entails terrible surgical and social costs:

  • Between 300 and 800 million euros per year.
  • Between 20-23% bed occupancy.
  • 25% live alone.
  • 50% do not recover their previous functional situation.
  • 20% require long-term assistance.

All these data lead us to reflect on whether we are doing it right. In 1959 Cleveland said that “we come into the world through the pelvis… and leave it through the neck of the femur”. It is our obligation to change it. The best treatment against osteoporosis is prevention. It is recommended to maintain adequate calcium intake, good nutrition and regular exercise.