IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis

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MAY 10, 2002

Lisboa Congress Center, Portugal

Bone fractures: An important source of morbidity and mortality in osteoporosis patients

(LISBON, May 10, 2002) – Bone fractures are recognized as an important source of morbidity and mortality in women and men with osteoporosis, and presentations to be made this week at the IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis in Lisbon will shed further light on their significance and on methods of preventing fractures from occurring. Virtually all aspects of the problem of fractures and bone fragility are to be discussed at the congress.

The importance of vertebral fractures, which affect 20-25% of women over the age of 50 and 40% over the age of 80, is underestimated. Vertebral fractures cost US$300 million annually in direct costs alone; this is only 25% less than the costs incurred by hip fractures, which are reported much more frequently. Patients with vertebral fractures have a lower quality of life than those with hip fractures. Spinal fractures cause severe pain and often produce long-term disability, curvature of the spine and respiratory problems because of the collapse of the vertebral column.

Hip fractures, the type of fracture most widely recognized as a complication of osteoporosis, also have a profound impact on quality of life. In Europe and the U.S. more than 650,000 patients suffer hip fractures (defined as a break at the head of the femur) each year, and this incidence is expected to double over the next five years. Twenty percent of patients with hip fractures die within the first six months after fracture. Total mortality associated with hip fracture is greater than that from gastric or pancreatic cancer, and the lifetime risk for a woman of dying from a hip fracture complication is equal to that of dying from breast cancer. After a hip fracture, many patients are no longer able to live independently and require nursing home care or assistance from family members or health professionals in order to carry out their daily activities.

The costs incurred by fractures are significant. It costs twice as much to treat a hip fracture patient (more than US$5500 per patient) as it does to treat a patient with chronic obstructive lung disease or myocardial infarction, and three times more than one with alcoholic liver disease. The National Osteoporosis Foundation (U.S.) estimates that the treatment of osteoporotic fractures incurs direct medical costs of US$17 billion each year.

The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) is a worldwide organization dedicated to the worldwide fight against osteoporosis. It brings together scientists, physicians, patient societies and corporate partners. Working hand in hand with its 139 member societies in 71 countries and other healthcare-related organizations around the world, IOF encourages awareness and prevention, early detection and improved treatment of osteoporosis.

The IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis is being held May 10-14, 2002 in Lisbon, Portugal. Some 5,000 participants are expected for the congress, expected to be the largest gathering ever of osteoporosis specialists from around the world. Abstracts from the congress will be published in a supplementary volume of the journal Osteoporosis International. For more information visit the congress website:

Program abstracts can be accessed on:

IOF website:

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