Canadian osteoporosis-related hip fracture rates drop, yet remain significant

Due to the negative impact osteoporosis-related hip fractures can have on mobility and quality of life, a team of Canadian researchers recently set out to estimate the risk of such an injury among people age 50 and older.

The results, which appeared in the journal Osteoporosis International, pinpointed the lifetime rate of such fractures for mature women at 8.9 percent, while among men the rate was 6.7 percent.

The team, which hails from McMaster University, St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and the Centre for Evaluation of Medicines, said that these figures indicate that while osteoporosis-related hip fractures have declined in recent years, they still pose a significant threat to Canadian public health.

In 1998, the lifetime risk for such broken bones was 14 percent among women and 5.2 percent among men over the age of 50.

During her lifetime, an estimated one in two U.S. women of that age category will suffer a hip fracture caused by progressive bone loss, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF). One-quarter of men age 50 or older will experience the injury as well.

The authors of the new study noted that potential causes of the moderate decrease in osteoporosis-related hip fracture rates included changes in lifestyle trends, such as national rates of smoking, alcohol use and obesity.

They also noted that the fracture rates, which had been adjusted for rising average longevity, might be skewed by individuals who suffered multiple hip fractures over the study period. After correcting for this variable, the team determined that the lifetime risk for a first-ever hip fracture caused by bone loss is 7.3 percent for women and 6.2 percent for men age 50 or older.

Nearly 300,000 osteoporosis-related hip fractures are reported each year in the U.S. The NOF states that women who experience one such injury are four times more likely to suffer a second.
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