University of Illinois Extension

Osteoporosis Can Lead to Fractures

Every year, it is estimated that 1.5 million individuals suffer a fracture due to bone disease. About four of 10 Caucasian women over the age of 50 in the United States will experience a hip, spine, or wrist fracture at some time during the remainder of their lives. Direct costs of osteoporosis include the medical costs of hospitalization and care for fractured hips, wrists, spine, and legs.

Caring for fractures is expensive. In 2004, according to the Surgeon General, annual direct care expenditures for osteoporotic fractures range from $12 to $18 billion per year in 2002 dollars. Indirect costs (e.g., lost productivity for patients and caregivers) likely add billions of dollars to this figure. These costs could double or triple in the coming decades (Surgeon General, 2004). The indirect costs include the shattered quality of life many people experience due to lack of mobility and inability to continue to care for themselves.

Hip fractures are the most devastating type of fracture, reaching about 300,000 hospitalizations each year. Almost all hip fracture patients are hospitalized, and they account for almost half of all hospitalizations for osteoporotic fractures in the United States. Hip fractures frequently lead to disability. Twenty-six percent of individuals suffering a hip fracture become disabled in the following year because of the fracture. Most who are admitted to a hospital due to a hip fracture are discharged to an extended care facility.