Over-50s cautioned as hip fractures on rise
THE NUMBER of hip fractures in Ireland is expected to increase by 88 per cent by 2025, according to a new study by Osteoporosis International.
Based on current population trends, the study projects the number of osteoporotic-type fractures to increase by 79 per cent by 2025.
Dr Miriam Casey, consultant physician at the osteoporosis unit at St James’s Hospital and joint author of the study, said the HSE was going to be left with a large bill if preventative action wasn’t taken.
“Really the study is to inform older people that they need to take steps to ensure they are looking after themselves. People aged 50-60 need to make sure to really look after their bones,” she said.
Older people tend to have a mostly carbohydrate-based diet, she said, and they needed to ensure they are taking calcium supplements, getting enough protein in their diets and vitamin D.
It is estimated that the population of over-50s will increase from 1.17 million in 2008 to 1.88 million in 2025, an increase of 61 per cent.
Hip fractures are regarded as the most severe of the osteoporotic fractures, with an associated mortality rate of 20-30 per cent during the first year after fracture.
The cost of hospitalisations for osteoporotic-type fractures in Ireland in 2008 was €102.7 million. The study is the first of its kind and can accurately predict incidents of hip-breaks, according to Dr Casey.
“There is a 22 per cent death rate within a year from a broken hip, mainly from the anaesthetic, blood clots and phenomena afterwards, but no one sees a broken hip as a big problem,” she said.
“That death rate is in line with some bad cancers and heart attacks,” she added.
Between 2000 and 2009, the absolute number of all osteoporotic-type fractures in patients aged 50 or over rose by 12 per cent in females and by 15 per cent in males. Patient days spent in acute-care hospitals for major osteoporotic fractures increased by 70 per cent in men and 36 per cent in women in the same period.
About 90 per cent of fractures among over-60s can be attributed to osteoporosis.