Osteoporosis is a disease that has become increasingly common among older women. Researchers who wish to understand the impact of this condition have found that individuals who experience bone fractures related to osteoporosis may have a significant reduction in health-related quality of life.
In the latest research from the Global Longitudinal Study of Osteoporosis in Women (GLOW), which is based at the Center for Outcomes Research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, researchers discovered osteoporosis sufferers have similar or worse quality of life than adults with diabetes, arthritis, lung disease and other chronic illnesses.
Approximately 40 percent of women over 50 will suffer a fracture as a result of osteoporosis, and the most common break sites are the hip, spine and wrist. These fractures are often associated with chronic pain, reduced mobility, loss of independence, and especially in hip fractures, an increased risk of death.
The study authors administered health surveys to nearly 60,000 post-menopausal women in 10 countries using an index measuring five dimensions of health, which are mobility, self-care, usual activities, pain or discomfort and anxiety or depression.
"Our study shows that the effects of fractures result in significant reductions in quality of life that are as lasting and as disabling as other chronic conditions. The greater the number of fractures, the greater the disability," said the lead author of the paper, Jonathan D. Adachi, GLOW investigator and chair of the Alliance for Better Bone Health in Rheumatology at St. Joseph's Healthcare and McMaster University in Ontario.
The likelihood of fractures increases with age, thus fracture numbers are projected to rise as the population gets older.