Osteoporosis places a significant burden on individuals, as well as the health care system. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2017–18 National Health Survey (NHS), around 924,000 Australians have osteoporosis.3 In 2012, the total direct and indirect costs of osteoporosis and osteopenia in Australia were $2.75 billion. By 2022, the annual total costs are predicted to reach $3.84 billion. Hip fractures are the largest contributors and cost nearly $800 million in 2012.4

By 2022, it is estimated that 6.2 million Australians aged 60 and over will have osteoporosis or osteopenia. This is an increase of 31% from 2012. Australia’s population is estimated to reach 26.5 million by 2022, suggesting that by this time, around one in four people may have osteoporosis.5, 6

Timely diagnosis and appropriate pharmacological management of osteoporosis reduces fracture rates.7 Pharmacotherapy is very effective and can reduce fracture risk by more than 50%, has a low incidence of adverse effects and can be easily managed by general practitioners.7 Despite the availability of very effective pharmacotherapy, osteoporosis remains significantly under-diagnosed and under-treated. Approximately 70% of minimal trauma fractures occur in women with a residual lifetime risk around 44% for women 60 years and older 9. Hip-fracture rate also increases substantially with age, being only 4% in women 50 – 69 years but around 26% in women over 70 10.

In 2012, the overall burden for Osteoporosis and Osteopenia in Australia was around 2.75 billion in which hip fractures contributed to nearly $800 million. The total cost is predicted to be $ 3.84 billion by 2022.

Recent data on the prevalence, health and economic impacts of osteoporosis have highlighted alarming detection and treatment gaps in the identification and management of osteoporosis in Australia. The findings also highlight the need to re-enforce clinical guidelines for health professionals at the front line of osteoporosis management.1 We hypothesise that the current gaps in practice can be addressed simply, pragmatically and effectively. This approach will be examined in the ORMA study.

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References

4. https://www.osteoporosis.org.au/burdenofdisease

5. https://www.populationpyramid.net/australia/2022/

6. https://www.statista.com/statistics/263740/total-population-of-australia/

7. Shepstone L et al. SCOOP Study Team. Screening in the community to reduce fractures in older women (SCOOP): a randomised controlled trial. 2018 Feb 24;391(10122):741-747

8. Ewald D. Osteoporosis – prevention and detection in general practice. Aust Fam Physician. 2012 Mar;41(3):104-8.

9. Nguyen ND, Ahlborg HG, Center JR, Eisman JA, Nguyen TV. Residual lifetime risk of fractures in women and men. J Bone Miner Res 2007;22(6):781–88.

10. Watts JJ, Abimanyi-Ochom J, Sanders K. Osteoporosis costing all Australians: A new burden of disease analysis – 2012 to 20