Fragility Fractures are fractures caused by osteoporosis. Fragility Fractures cost an enormous amount of money. They also cause pain, suffering, disability, nursing home stays, and death.
The estimated total cost of Fragility Fractures in the European Union for 2010 was 39 billion Euros. That is $52 billion US! Real money! That is a lot to pay for fractures that might have been prevented by screening and preventive treatment.
Roughly half of the treatment costs were for hip fractures. Over 20% of hip fracture patients die from their injury. Nearly half of those who survive never leave the nursing home. Human suffering and money costs both add up rapidly.
Many hip fractures are preceeded by other fractures. Unrecognized “Silent” Vertebral Fractures are the most common warning sign. VFA or lateral spine x-rays can detect “silent ” vertebral fractures. Examination and other testing usually will not. Height loss is a strong clue.
Screening all fracture patients, and treating their bone health can prevent many future fractures, including hip. Often just starting proper doses of Calcium Citrate and Vitamin D is enough to significantly improve bone health and cut Fracture Risk.
Jay Ginther, MD