A new Audit report on fragility fractures, issued today by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), predicts that Brazil will experience an explosion in the number of fragility fractures due to osteoporosis in the coming decades.
Osteoporosis, a disease which weakens bones and makes them more likely to fracture, is thought to affect around 33% of postmenopausal women in Brazil. Fractures due to osteoporosis mostly affect older adults, with fractures at the spine and hip causing the most suffering, disability and healthcare expenditure.
Currently, about 20% of Brazil's population is 50 years of age or over and 4.3% is aged 70 or over. With average life expectancy projected to rise to 80 years in 2050, it is estimated that the total population will increase to 260 million. Around 37% will then be over 50 years of age, and 14% (around 36 million people) aged 70 years or over.
These projections serve as a dire warning to health authorities as well as to social institutions which care for the aged. In Brazil, around 153 to 343 hip fractures occur among every 100,000 people aged 50 and over. While today there are an estimated 121, 700 annual hip fractures, these numbers are predicted to increase by 16% in 2020, and by 32% in 2050.
Hip fractures are a major cause of suffering, disability, and early death in seniors. Various international studies show that around 20% of hip fracture sufferers will die within the year of fracture, but one study examining patients in various hospitals in Rio de Janeiro showed that as many as 35% died either in hospital or soon after discharge. Surviving hip fracture patients often remain disabled, and lose the inability to live productive and independent lives, thus becoming a burden on family or transferring to institutional care.
Dr. Bruno Muzzi Camargos, President of the Associação Brasileira da Avaliação da Saúde Óssea e Osteometabolismo (ABrASSO), stated, "Given the future projections, osteoporosis and fragility fractures have become a health issue of immediate concern. We must implement nation-wide measures for early prevention, while ensuring that people at risk –and especially people who have already suffered a fracture – are appropriately diagnosed and treated to prevent future fractures. This is the only way that we can slow the rising tide of costly fractures. "
The 'Latin America Audit: Epidemiology, Costs, and Burden of Osteoporosis 2012' was prepared by IOF in cooperation with IOF member societies . It includes data from 14 countries throughout Latin America, and reveals the following key findings in Brazil:
On the positive side, Brazil is one of the few Latin American countries which has declared osteoporosis as a national health priority. Professor Christiano Zerbini, IOF Board Member and Director of the Paulista Clinical Research Center in Sao Paulo, commented, "Brazilian researchers and health professionals are working to find answers to the problem of osteoporosis and related musculoskeletal diseases. For example, an important new multicentre prospective study, BRAVOS (Brazilian Vertebral Osteoporosis Study), will gather much-needed epidemiological data from six research centres across the country. We hope this data will lead to the development of a WHO Fracture Risk Assessment model (FRAX) for Brazil – a tool to facilitate the identification of people at high risk of fracture. Among other necessary steps, this would be an important achievement in our efforts to reduce the burden of future fractures."
The authors of the Audit report call for more public awareness campaigns, osteoporosis training programmes for doctors, better accessibility to low cost testing and treatment, and more epidemiological research.
IOF President John A. Kanis stated, "IOF joins concerned Brazilian doctors and patient societies to call for the channelling of health care resources towards the prevention and care of age-related musculoskeletal diseases and fragility fractures. This is an important investment in Brazil's future."
Information about the Latin American Audit is available in English, Portuguese and Spanish at http://www.osteoporosisinlatinamerica.com
The report can also be downloaded from the IOF website at http://www.iofbonehealth.org/regional-audits
The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) is the world's largest nongovernmental organization devoted to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and related musculoskeletal diseases. IOF members – including committees of scientific researchers, patient, medical and research societies, and industry representatives from around the globe - share a common vision of a bone healthy future without fragility fractures. IOF now represents more than 200 societies in all regions of the world. http://www.iofbonehealth.org
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