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Osteoporosis and fragility fractures – a family affair

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Celebrating World Osteoporosis Day 2020

 

The Asia Pacific Consortium on Osteoporosis (APCO) is delighted to be celebrating World Osteoporosis Day (WOD) today (Tuesday, October 20). WOD is an annual, campaign that was conceptualised in 1997 by the National Osteoporosis Society of the UK and later adopted by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF). It is designed to raise global awareness among healthcare professionals, the media, policy makers, patients, and the public, about the need to prevent, diagnose and treat osteoporosis.

This year’s campaign highlights the direct link between osteoporosis, and its dreaded consequence, of fragility fractures, that can cause substantial pain, long-term disability, and loss of independence.

Globally, up to one-in-two women and one-in-five men aged 50 years and over will sustain an osteoporotic fracture in their remaining lifetime. Estimates suggest that by 2050, half of all hip-fractures globally will occur in Asia Pacific – the world’s most highly populated region. Unity among individuals, healthcare professionals, professional and patient organisations, and governments is urgently required to prevent and manage osteoporosis, and fragility fractures.

Osteoporosis is often a ‘family affair’, given family members, sometimes multiple generations, may be required to shoulder the burden of care. This especially rings true when a beloved member of the family sustains a fragility fracture that compromises their physical and mental health, as well as their financial stability.

In addition, the message that bone health should be considered a priority from a very young age, and that osteoporosis can affect the young and the old, and both men and women should be emphasized. Bone strength and fragility fractures are not an inevitable part of ageing.

The IOF is urging adults over 50 years of age to take their online IOF Osteoporosis Risk Check (in 36 languages) today, to determine their potential risk factors for osteoporosis. Should users identify any risks factors, they are encouraged to promptly ask their treating physician for a bone health assessment, which may include a Fracture Risk Assessment (FRAX) to estimate their 10-year risk of experiencing a fracture.

“Given the serious, life-changing impact of fractures, particularly at the hip and spine, it is essential that all adults above 50 years of age be alert to their potential risk factors for osteoporosis,” said IOF President, and Director and Professor of Rheumatology, MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, United Kingdom.

“Timely testing and treatment are crucial, as effective treatments are able to reduce the risk of fractures by 30 to 70 per cent.”

Through its Capture the Fracture® initiative, the IOF is championing the implementation of Post-Fracture Care Coordination Programmes in hospitals worldwide to ensure fracture patients are correctly assessed and treated to minimise their risk for further fracture.

“We urge health authorities to prioritise bone health and ensure effective post- fracture care for all older adults who have sustained fractures. This is the key to reducing the burden of osteoporosis-related fractures on patients, their families and societies around the world,” Prof Cooper said.

IOF CEO and APCO Executive Committee Member, Dr Philippe Halbout, Switzerland added: “This is an important annual occasion which allows IOF, together with its more than 260 member societies around the world, to put the spotlight on osteoporosis.

“We urge all health professionals in the Asia-Pacific region to join us in this annual campaign to promote awareness and action for fracture prevention. It is also important that we work together to advance understanding of the link between the underlying disease and the devastating fractures which result,” said Dr Halbout.

To mark today’s annual milestone on the public health calendar, APCO Executive Committee Member, Dr Aysha Habib Khan, The Aga Khan University, Pakistan, is running a WOD 2020 CME webinar for healthcare professionals and policy makers worldwide from 3:30 – 4:30pm Pakistan Time. During the webinar, APCO Executive Committee Chairperson, Dr Manju Chandran, Director, Osteoporosis and Bone Metabolism Unit, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore will outline the burden of osteoporosis in Asia Pacific, the role of APCO, and the way forward for osteoporosis care and secondary fracture prevention in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC). To register for the webinar, head to: https://www.aku.edu/events/pages/event-detail.aspx?EventID=1541.

According to Dr Chandran, despite its substantial burden on patients and their families, osteoporosis is a seriously neglected disease.

“APCO, in its role as the region’s largest and only consortium of independent osteoporosis experts, stands behind the inspiring message that WOD conveys, and is committed to addressing the critical gap currently existing in osteoporosis care in the Asia Pacific region,” Dr Chandran said.

Be sure to visit our blog next week to see the exciting and innovative ways in which our APCO members marked WOD 2020 in their respective countries throughout the region.

For further information and resources on WOD, head to www.worldosteoporosisday.org/resources.

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