Fractures in the elderly a major problem, research shows
Fractures in elderly patients, especially hip fractures, are one of the main challenges facing the European health system, according to research presented at the at the 15th EFORT Congress — a combined program in partnership with the British Orthopaedic Association.
“Developing effective and economical prevention strategies and treatments for fractures has to be an urgent priority if we want to ensure that high-quality care can be provided in the future,” Björn E. Rosengren, MD, a presenter at the EFORT Congress said in a press release. “Up-to-date epidemiological data, including current trends, are available for most other major diseases such as cancer, diabetes or coronary heart disease, but not for fractures.”
Although the incidence of hip fractures has been trending downwards, Rosengren said the prevalence of osteoporosis has remained unchanged, which suggests that other factors are likely contributing to the trend of lesser hip fractures. Contrary to the current trends, Rosengren’s presented research showed hip fractures were likely to double by 2050, primarily due to the growth in the geriatric population.
Other data presented by researchers from Bangkok’s Mahidol University concluded nearly 75% of falls that cause hip fractures in this aging population occur in the patients’ homes. The most common location is the bedroom (35%), followed by the living room (23%) and bathroom (12%). Prior falls, cerebrovascular disease, poor vision and hearing, cognitive impairment and dependency on a caregiver were identified in the research as significant risk factors in fall-related hip fractures.
“Ideally, more data are needed to support the classification of current trends in fracture severity, as well as for development of treatment protocols for the most common types of fracture, and of cost-benefit analyses of pharmacological treatments and other interventions for different fracture types,” Rosengren said.
Disclosure: Rosengren is the review editor of Frontiers in Bone Research and is on the editorial board of Clinical Epidemiology Reviews.