Osteoporosis responsible for 4,200 annual deaths

August 5, 2022 - 18:24

TEHRAN – Every year, 4,200 Iranians die of osteoporosis and its complications, Afshin Ostovar, head of the non-communicable diseases management office of the Ministry of Health, has stated.

Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break. It develops slowly over several years and is often only diagnosed when a minor fall or sudden impact causes a bone fracture. The most common injuries in people with osteoporosis are wrist and hip fractures.

Noting that 170,000 fractures occur due to osteoporosis in the country every year, he said that one out of two women and one out of four men over the age of 50 experiences a fracture due to osteoporosis, which is considered a very severe disease.

Some 20 to 50 percent of these fractures are related to hip, which causes people to die, and 80 percent of people who break their hips and survive, do not return to their original state and need crutches and help from others to walk, he lamented.

Unfortunately, 160 women and 140 men out of every 100,000 people in the country experience hip fracture, he regretted, adding, hip fracture is more common than all the cancers specific to women, i.e. uterine, ovarian, and breast cancers, in the country.

This disease has not attracted as much attention as its importance, while its economic burden is equal to heart attacks and strokes. The disease incurs a cost of 70 trillion rials (nearly $259 million) for the health system annually, he highlighted.

Osteoporosis is not diagnosed in time in two-thirds of high-risk people, and the first symptom of this disease appears as a fracture, he said, ILNA reported.

Treatment and medicines for this disease are available, but for 70 percent of people, the treatment does not start. In fact, 87 percent of women do not continue their treatment. The treatment of the disease is long and at least three years should be spent to achieve the desired result, Ostovar explained.

There is not enough awareness in society about osteoporosis and its consequences, and the number of bone density measurement devices in the country is low, and 50 percent of the devices are located in Tehran, and two-thirds of the provincial medical centers do not have this device, he said, referring to challenges facing the disease diagnosis.

Women suffering from osteoporosis more than men

Ostovar said in May that 80 percent of women over the age of 75 across the country are suffering from osteoporosis.

Seventeen percent of Iranians over the age of 30 and 20 percent of women aged over 50 are suffering from osteoporosis, Ahmad Raeisosadat, secretary of the association of physical medicine and rehabilitation, said in October 2019.

Mina Kermani, a rheumatologist, announced in February 2019 that about seven million Iranian people were suffering from osteoporosis.

Currently, it has been estimated that more than 200 million people are suffering from osteoporosis around the world. According to recent statistics from the International Osteoporosis Foundation, worldwide, 1 in 3 women over the age of 50 years and 1 in 5 men will experience osteoporotic fractures in their lifetime.