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Osteoporotic fractures are a real scourge - in Europe there are over 3 million of them annually, on average - one every 30 seconds. In 2010, 2.5 million new osteoporotic fractures occurred in the six largest European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Great Britain and Sweden). 34,000 patients after such a fracture died as a result of complications, mainly cardiovascular and respiratory, caused by immobilization. How to assess the risk and why are osteoporotic fractures so dangerous?

Osteoporotic fracturesthreaten primarily postmenopausal women. It is estimated that around 40 percent of women over 50 in Europe will experience at least one fracture in their lifetime. For men over 50, only 13 percent. Fractures in men are less frequent but have a higher risk of complications.

Osteoporotic fractures: types

The most common osteoporotic fractures include vertebral fractures, fracture of the proximal end of the femur (femoral neck or, popularly - hip fracture), radius, humerus.

  • hip fractures are considered the most dangerous osteoporotic fractures; in older people, they often lead to disability or death: - 20 percent of women and 25 percent of men die from complications within a year after a hip fracture, - 30 percent of these patients require constant medical care, - 50 percent of people who survive the critical year, becomes disabled.
  • vertebral fracture very often goes undiagnosed because initially it does not show obvious symptoms; however, it causes a deterioration in the quality of life and its shortening, and what is more - it increases the risk of another osteoporotic fracture at least several times.

It is estimated that vertebral fractures occur in every fourth woman over 50 and in every second woman over 85. Each osteoporotic fracture increases the risk of another by two to ten times.

Osteoporotic fractures: risk factors

In 2008, a group of experts of the World He alth Organization headed by prof. I. Kanisa published a report detailing the most important risk factors for fractureosteoporotic. They are:

  • age
  • gender
  • low body weight (BMI - Body Mass Index -<20)
  • history of low-energy fracture
  • fracture of the femoral neck in parents
  • smoking
  • taking glucocorticosteroids
  • drinking alcohol
  • rheumatoid arthritis

Osteoporotic fractures: risk calculation

A method for calculating the risk of osteoporotic fracture has been developed, taking into account the above risk factors and BMD values ​​or without BMD, and only on the basis of the patient's history, height and weight.

Using the FRAX® (Fracture Risk Assessment Tool) calculator, the risk of hip fracture or major fracture (radius, humerus or spine) is calculated over the next 10 years. If this risk exceeds 10 percent, pharmacotherapy for osteoporosis should be initiated. This is also necessary after the first osteoporotic fracture is identified.

According to experts, in Europe the vast majority of high-risk people (around 80 percent), including those who have suffered at least one fracture, are not treated properly. In Poland, this percentage is certainly even higher.

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