With the first of the baby boomer generation now entering their eighties, the next decade will see a significant increase in the number of people living with osteoporosis and experiencing the often devastating outcome of fragility fractures.
A newly published narrative review in Osteoporosis International considers the key global challenges facing healthcare professionals and policymakers responsible for providing care to populations in relation to bone health and fracture prevention.
Referencing key studies, guidelines and audits, the review provides evidence of the chief care gaps, and outlines the solutions which will need to be implemented in order to address the growing burden of fragility fractures in the world's population.
The authors identify four distinct themes which encompass challenges related to:
(1) case finding and management of individuals at high risk of fracture;
(2) public awareness of osteoporosis and fragility fractures;
(3) reimbursement and health system policy; and
(4) epidemiology of fracture in the developing world.
Co-author Professor Eugene McCloskey, Director of the MRC ARUK Centre for Integrated Research in Musculoskeletal Ageing, Metabolic Bone Centre, Northern General Hospital, Sheffield, UK., stated: "This review identifies, among other challenges, the current gaps in delivery of best clinical practice, low levels of public awareness, and insufficient access and funding for diagnosis and treatment. Sadly, these gaps are a clear reflection of the low priority currently given to bone health and fracture prevention in healthcare policy."
Several of the main challenges and solutions identified are:
Professor Cyrus Cooper, Chair of the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) Committee of Scientific Advisors, stated: "We cannot afford to ignore the current and growing burden that osteoporosis and fragility fractures impose upon societies around the world. As we now have the knowledge and tools needed to manage bone health optimally, I urge healthcare professionals, stakeholder organizations, and healthcare authorities to make a concerted effort to implement these tools. Prioritization of fragility fracture prevention must become a reality worldwide."
The review "Mind the (treatment) gap: a global perspective on current and future strategies for prevention of fragility fractures" is an updated, referenced synopsis of the IOF illustrated report "Gaps and Solutions in Bone Health -- A Global Framework for Improvement" which was published in nine languages on the occasion of World Osteoporosis Day.
Materials provided by International Osteoporosis Foundation. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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