A sign of decline in hip fractures

The rate of hip fractures due to osteoporosis has decreased, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, A snapshot of osteoporosis in Australia, shows that the rate of osteoporotic hip fractures fell by 8% for men and 15% for women between 1998–99 and 2007–08 (based on age-standardised hospital separation rates).

‘On its own, osteoporosis is rarely an underlying cause of death, but research has shown certain osteoporotic fractures increase the risk of death considerably in the first 3 months after the fracture,’ said AIHW spokesperson Dr Naila Rahman. 

‘The most common sites for osteoporotic fractures are the hip and pelvis followed by the wrist and forearm.’

Against the backdrop of a decline in hip fractures, health expenditure for osteoporosis more than doubled from $139 million in 2000–01 to $304 million in 2004–05.

Most of this increase was for prescription pharmaceuticals, which rose from $75.5 million in 2000-01 to $215 million in 2004-05.

‘According to National Health Survey data, of people diagnosed with osteoporosis, 82% are women, and 84% of them are aged 55 years and over,’ Dr Rahman said.

‘Around 36% of people with osteoporotic fractures report activity restrictions. However, only one out of seven people have severe or profound restriction.’

Osteoporosis is a largely preventable condition. Evidence suggests that changes in lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise, medications and falls prevention programs can all help to prevent or lessen its impact.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 4 May 2011

Further information: Dr Naila Rahman, tel. 02 6244 1057, mob. 0403 336 293

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer (02) 6244 1032