Bone fractures costing Aust. more than $3.1 billion a year
The brittle bones of NSW and ACT residents aged 50 plus are expected to cost $1.1 billion in 2017,1 while the total cost over 10 years will climb to $7.5 billion by 2022.1 Nationwide, costs are expected to be $3.1bn in 2017 and nearly $23 bn by 2022. This is according to the first state and territory reports analysing the costs and burden of poor bone health, released by Osteoporosis Australia.
The recent release of the ‘Osteoporosis costing NSW & ACT: A burden of disease analysis’ report coincided with the launch of the independent SOS Fracture Alliance — Australia’s only national alliance of 30 medical, allied health, patient and consumer organisations focusing on the prevention of osteoporotic fractures.
Living with brittle bones
According to Osteoporosis Australia Medical Director Professor Peter Ebeling AO, 1.9 million NSW and ACT residents aged 50 and above are currently living with brittle bones.1
This figure is expected to climb to 2.1 million within the next five years,1 leading to a cascade of fractures, which could be prevented, saving millions of dollars and improving patient lives. The report estimates that by 2022, there will be 64,000 fractures in NSW and ACT each year.1
“A broken bone is usually a sign that we need to take action to prevent more bone loss, as each fracture significantly raises the risk of a further fracture.1
“What is extremely worrying is that four-out-of-five Australians treated for an osteoporotic fracture are not tested for osteoporosis, and therefore, are not offered treatment for osteoporosis,”2 said Prof Ebeling.
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.
Urgent action required
According to Osteoporosis Australia CEO Greg Lyubomirsky, Sydney, urgent action is needed to improve health outcomes for patients and their families.
“It is our collective responsibility to stop osteoporotic fractures from occurring. Fractures are an important cause of death in older people and require the same focus and attention as heart attacks and stroke," he said.
Osteoporosis affects women and men, and occurs when bones lose their quality and strength, weakening the skeleton.3 Osteoporotic-fractures most often occur in the spine, hip, wrist, upper arm, ribs, and pelvis.3 Proper medical investigation and management can halve the risk of further fracture.3 Direct costs of managing fractures from osteoporosis include ambulance services, hospitalisations, emergency and outpatient departments, rehabilitation and community services.1 These are preventable costs.
For more information about osteoporosis and the ‘Osteoporosis costing NSW & ACT: A burden of disease analysis’ report, visit www.osteoporosis.org.au/burdenofdisease. For more information about the SOS Fracture Alliance, visit www.SOSfracturealliance.org.au.
1. Sanders KM, Watts JJ, Abimanyi-Ochom J, Murtaza G, 2017. Osteoporosis costing NSW & ACT: A burden of disease analysis - 2012 to 2022.
2. What You Need To Know About Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis.org.au. N.P., 2014. Web. [Accessed June 9, 2017].
3. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australia’s health 2010. Cat. no. AUS 122. Canberra: AIHW.
4. Seibel MJ. No more excuses: fracture liaison services work and are cost-effective. Med J Aust 2011. Nov 21;195(10):566-7.
Expected costs of osteoporosis in residents aged 50 plus:
|State or territory||2017||2022|
|NSW + ACT||$1.1bn||$7.5bn|
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