Osteoporosis and Fragility Fractures - an urgent priority for European policymakers:
Fragility fractures can be life-changing events, often bringing pain, isolation and dependency. Every day, there are almost 10,000 fragility fractures in the EU ? most of which are among women over the age of 50.
While osteoporosis is more prevalent among women than men, the perception that it affects only women is misguided. Globally, 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men aged over 50 will experience a fragility fracture in their lifetime. Fragility fractures are a major driver of preventable deaths and disability, representing a significant economic burden on healthcare systems and societies ? and this burden will only increase as populations age.
When osteoporosis is identified early and measures such as lifestyle changes and medication are put in place, further loss of bone density can be slowed or reversed, subsequently reducing the risk of a fragility fracture. Yet people with osteoporosis are too often failed by healthcare systems, and too many preventable fractures occur. Across Europe, almost 70% of women over 70 who have osteoporosis have not been diagnosed, and even after a fracture, 60?85% of women do not receive treatment to prevent subsequent fractures from occurring.
Osteoporosis and fragility fractures are a major public health issue. Lifelong prevention, timely intervention and appropriate multidisciplinary management can protect people from developing osteoporosis and minimise their risk of experiencing a fracture ? ultimately improving quality of life for millions of people.