Previous break intensifies osteoporosis

U. SOUTHAMPTON (UK) — Women with osteoporosis suffer more mobility problems, pain, anxiety, and/or depression if they have previously broken a bone.

A new study also finds that these women experience a similar loss in health-related quality of life as those with arthritis, lung disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.

“Our study shows that the effects of fractures result in significant reductions in quality of life that are as lasting and as disabling as other chronic conditions,” says Cyrus Cooper, professor of rheumatology at the University of Southampton.

“As important, the greater the number of fractures, the greater the disability. More needs to be done to identify and treat individuals at the highest risk of fractures.”

Approximately 40 percent of women over 50 will suffer a fracture—the most common sites are the hip, spine and wrist—accompanied by chronic pain, loss of independence, and especially in the case of hip fracture, an increased risk of death.

Because the likelihood of fractures increases substantially with older age, fracture numbers are projected to rise as the population ages.

Using a standardized index measuring five dimensions of health (mobility, self-care, usual activities, pain or discomfort, and anxiety or depression), the study authors administered health surveys to compare the overall health status, physical function, and vitality of participants and assess health-related quality of life.

The study found that spine, hip, and upper leg fractures resulted in the greatest decrease in quality of life.

The study—from the Global Longitudinal Study of Osteoporosis in Women (GLOW), led by the University of Massachusetts Medical School—appears online in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

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