Diagnosis and cost of osteoporosis

Nearly 3 million people in Spain suffer from osteoporosis, a disease with a high prevalence and incidence that mainly affects women. Only 18% of patients are diagnosed and among the female population more than 80% are unaware of the risk factors before the disease is diagnosed.

Furthermore, only 10% of women with osteoporosis receive treatment. This disease affects 35% of Spanish women over the age of 50 and 52% of women over the age of 70. It is estimated that 1 out of every 5 women over 50 years of age suffers at least one vertebral fracture as a result of osteoporosis. These fractures represent a major health problem due to the health, economic and healthcare consequences they entail.

Therefore, it is advisable to detect fragility fractures and treat them medically and surgically. One of the most commonly used drugs is bisphosphonates. In economic terms, osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures have an estimated cost of more than 25 million euros.

At the European level, the average cost of treating osteoporotic fractures reaches 25 billion euros and it is estimated that by 2050 the costs of this disease will exceed 132 billion euros. The direct costs of osteoporosis depend on inpatient, outpatient and home medical expenses, while the indirect costs derive from the consequences of morbidity and mortality resulting from fractures.

In addition to the economic consequences, the health problems in those patients diagnosed with osteoporosis should help us to think about the need to take measures to reduce such costs and improve treatment for those suffering from the disease.