Failure to prevent fractures costing Australia billions each year

Burden of osteoporosis on Australia report

The brittle bones of Australians aged 50+ are expected to cost $3.1 billion in 2017, while the total cost over 10 years will climb to $21.9 billion by 2022. This is according to the first reports to analyse the cost and burden of poor bone health for all States and Territories nation-wide released by Osteoporosis Australia today, Tuesday, June 27.

Release of the Osteoporosis Burden of Disease reports coincided with the launch of the independent SOS Fracture Alliance – Australia’s first national alliance of 30 medical, allied health, patient and consumer organisations focusing on the prevention of osteoporotic fractures (fractures due to brittle bones).

“A broken bone in an older person is often a sign that we need to take action to prevent more bone loss, as each fracture indicates an even higher risk of further fracture,”1 said Osteoporosis Australia Medical Director, Professor Peter Ebeling AO.

“Four-out-of-five Australians treated for an osteoporotic fracture are not tested for osteoporosis, and therefore, are not offered treatment for osteoporosis. There is a significant gap in osteoporosis care, and our hospitals are becoming revolving doors for fracture patients being sent home, and returning with new fractures, rather than being properly assessed and treated for osteoporosis.”

The SOS Fracture Alliance is seeking to increase national recognition of first fractures in people with undiagnosed osteoporosis, to make their first break their last.

Founder and Chair of the SOS Fracture Alliance, Professor Markus Seibel, Sydney said Australians are being unnecessarily left to endure the pain of repeated fractures, and should regard the new figures as a serious public health warning.

“Two-thirds of NSW and ACT residents aged 50 and above have poor bone health or osteoporosis, and many don’t know it, even when they have obvious risk factors, or already have sustained a fracture,”1 Prof Seibel said.

“More often than not, people are sent home, after their fracture has been ‘fixed’, and miss out on essential investigation and care which in many cases would prevent further fractures.           

“The SOS Fracture Alliance is seeking to increase recognition nation-wide of first fractures in people with undiagnosed osteoporosis, to make their first break the last,” said Prof Seibel.

“This is why the SOS Fracture Alliance strongly advocates the implementation, across the nation, of routine services that identify, investigate and treat patients with osteoporotic fractures. These secondary fracture prevention services will integrate all sectors of the health system, in particular, primary care and hospital-based services.”

Find out more about the reports by visiting the Osteoporosis Australia website here.

Find out more about the SOS Fracture Alliance on their website here.

References

  1. Sanders KM, Watts JJ, Abimanyi-Ochom J, Murtaza G, 2017. Osteoporosis costing NSW & ACT: A burden of disease analysis – 2012 to 2022.