Background information

Bone health is an important consideration in an ageing population as reductions in bone mineral density are associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis and an increased risk of fractures particularly of the hip, spine and wrist. Research suggests that factors such as low intakes of calcium and vitamin D, limited exposure to sunlight, low BMI, low mobility impaired balance and low physical activity all contribute to reduced bone density and an increased fracture risk1.

Osteoporosis is characterised by reduced bone mass and disruption of bone microarchitecture, resulting in increased bone fragility and fracture risk.

Bone health in Europe

European data suggests that approximately 6% of men and 21% of women aged 50–84 years have osteoporosis affecting 27.6 million men and women2.

Approximately 3.5 million new fragility fractures occur annually in the EU. In 2010 alone, fragility fractures resulted in costs of €37 billion. Costs of treating fractures represented 66% of this cost, pharmacological prevention 5% and long-term fracture care 29%12, 13.

The number of deaths causally related to fractures in 2010 was estimated at 43,00012, 13.

Large variations in the incidence of osteoporotic fractures between and within countries are observed, partly related to economic prosperity. The number of osteoporotic fractures is rising in many countries, related in part to the ageing population2.

This information is intended for Healthcare professional audiences.
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