Projected Increase in Hip Fracture Burden Calls for Urgent Prevention and Care Strategies

The number of hip fractures worldwide is expected to nearly double by 2050 compared to 2018, highlighting an urgent need for improved prevention and care strategies, according to a study led by the University of Hong Kong. The research, conducted in 19 countries and regions, assessed the trends in hip fracture incidence, treatment patterns, and all-cause mortality from 2005 to 2018.

Hip fractures pose significant challenges, including increased dependency, morbidity, and mortality, impacting patients, their families, and healthcare systems. The study utilized data from a large representative cohort to examine hip fracture incidence, post-fracture treatment, and all-cause mortality among individuals aged 50 years and older.

While the study revealed a decrease in age- and sex-standardized hip fracture incidence rates across many regions, the overall number of hip fractures is projected to rise substantially due to population aging. The findings emphasize that the decline in hip fracture rates observed in recent years is insufficient to offset the impact of an aging population.

The study also highlighted a significant treatment gap, particularly for men, with many patients not receiving therapy to prevent future fractures. Within one year after a hip fracture, the proportion of patients receiving anti-osteoporosis medication remained low, ranging from 11.5% in Germany to 50.3% in the United Kingdom. Additionally, one-year all-cause mortality rates varied among countries, ranging from 14.4% in Singapore to 28.3% in the United Kingdom.

The researchers underscore the need for better strategies in hip fracture prevention and care to address the projected increase in the burden of hip fractures. They emphasize that hip fracture management should not only focus on medical aspects but also consider the social implications, including the potential need for institutionalization. Multidisciplinary interventions and government policies are crucial in reducing the impact of hip fractures in the next three decades.

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