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The Prevalence of Osteoporosis in the Elderly From 2000 to 2009

Osteoporosis is a relic disorder, yet it’s finding more prevalence in the developed countries due to the contemporary trends gradually finding their place in the modern world. Owing to the change in working trend where people have embraced less active jobs preferring the passive lifestyle; there is increased inactivity and fewer physical practices gaining popularity amongst human beings. The major risk factor associated with this disorder is a skeletal fracture and it’s commonly prevalent amongst the aging citizenry in the US.

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In view of the stated fact, there is an increasingly perturbing trend of hip fracture amongst the aged populace in developed countries such as the US. Research carried out by Hayes (2003) indicated that the major causative factors of this disease include a sedentary lifestyle and minimal physical activity amongst the elderly. Statistics indicate that a majority of the US elderly citizens of age 65 and above are confined in nursing homes where they are given intensive care, this creates a flaccid lifestyle for the elderly and their bodies are too weak to carry on normal activities. Due to lack of activity and physical exercise their bones weaken and also lose mass causing them to be susceptible to falls (Criddle, 2000).

As National Center for Health Statistics (2009) noted, differential survival, reflecting changing competing mortality risks, alters the gene pool of a present population cohort; hence the gene pool of 70-year-old individuals in 1990 does not implicitly compare to the same 70-year-old individuals in 1950. It follows that the prevalence of osteoporosis or the noted incidences of hip fracture of the past and present elderly groups don’t automatically imply differences in ecological risk factors such as other factors like physical fitness. Rather, it should be noted that variation in competing mortality risks over time produces differential survival with selection bias and naturally lead to increases in the incidence and prevalence of some aging-related disorders such as osteoporosis (National Center for Health Statistics, 2009).

Osteoporosis is a disease that is associated with decreased bone mass; it is degenerative in nature and is associated with increased age so that as people grow older they become more susceptible to the disease. People with this disease are likely to get skeletal fractures due to the decreased bone mass which causes their structures to be weak and vulnerable. Severe hip fractures which come up as a result of falls may lead to death or permanent disability; most of the elderly people who suffer hip fractures are compelled to be confined in nursing homes as they are unable to live independently until they are fully recovered. Studies carried out in the previous past in relation to hip fractures have established that the developed and developing countries account for more than 79% of the reported hip fractures (Magaziner & Dolan M, 2005). Physical activities account for increased incidences of hip fractures

Of all the reported cases of hip fractures amongst the elderly populace in the US, 90% is associated with falls (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2006). Adults above 65 years tend to fall and experience bone fractures and the injuries experienced may lead to brutal health problems which amount to reduced quality of life causing premature death. In the year 2005 alone there were more than 320,000 victims admitted in the hospitals with hip fractures, this number was a 3% increase from 2004(U.S. Bureau of the Census,2006). Research carried out by Magaziner & Dolan M. (2005) Projected that by the year 2040, the number of hip fractures would exceed 500,000 in every five reported cases of hip fracture, one dies within the year of the injury. A great percentage of individuals who suffer a hip fracture are hospitalized for more than a week. When an independent living individual gets a fracture he is likely to spend a year in a nursing home before complete recovery. The total costs associated with lip fracture in the year 2008 were estimated at $2.9 billion (National Center for Health Statistics, 2009). This indicates how costly the problem is and how the economy is affected by the looming prevalence of the ailment.

It has been brought to record that white women are more vulnerable to Hip fracture during their old age (Leibson, 2004). Africa to a greater extent is deeply haunted by cases of osteoporosis among the elderly. The major cause of this degenerative condition is inadequate nutrition due to severe famines that plague parts of the continent. Relief food is usually unequally distributed and those strong enough end up with most of the food. Weak elderly citizens only receive minute portions from well-wishers and consequently lack the necessary vitamin D and calcium to strengthen their bones. Their predicament is further compounded by scarce and inadequate medical facilities that could be in a position to alleviate their suffering. With an increasing annual figure of hip fractures, it is therefore not surprising to learn that most of the 71% of cases reported annually are inherent to the elderly in Africa especially elderly women. Apart from diet, other factors that contribute to the growing cases of osteoporosis in Africa include poverty, scarce resources, individual factors like bone toxins like glucocorticoids and alcohol, genetic predisposition, low body mass and ethnicity (Hough, 2005).

Asia has in the recent past experienced an exponential rise in the number of hip fractures occurring annually among the elderly. A study carried out by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) on fourteen major Asian countries over a 30 year period, revealed a worrying trend. Cases of osteoporosis had doubled if not tripled, leading them to predict that 50% of all worldwide cases of osteoporosis will be in Asia by the year 2050. This was greatly attributed to economic development with a case study of China. In 1988, there were very few incidents of hip fracture in China, with an estimated 10 out of 10,000 people suffering from it. By 1992, the cases had increased to 33% in men and 34% in women, paving way for the 69.4 million elderly people suffering from the condition today in China alone (IOF, 2009).

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Another contributing factor to the rapid rise in the number of osteoporosis cases in Asia has increased life expectancy. Modern medicine prevalent in Asia has helped boost a higher life expectancy which intensifies the risk of osteoporosis due to advanced age. India for example has a life expectancy of 66 years, leading to the forecast that 36 million elderly Indians will be prone to osteoporosis by 2013. Most Asian governments fail to recognize osteoporosis as a serious disease, and therefore not enough funding goes into research and development of medication (IOF, 2009).

Studies have meticulously deduced that half of the women who attain the age of 90 years certainly suffer Hip fracture owing to old age. Notably, the elderly people who broke their arms at one time are likely to experience hip fracture during their life time. Statistics indicate that in ever hip fracture case reported by a man there are two reported by women (Leibson, 2004).

Information spawned by National Center for Health Statistics indicates that only 25 percent of hip fracture patients ever make a full recovery; out of the injured group, 40% must be confined in nursing homes for special care because they are unable to carry out normal duties independently. Out of the total injured group, 50% only survive by use of a cane or a walker which aids their activity since their bodies are unable to support their commotion. Out of the total number, sadly a 24% of the hip fracture victims aged 50 and above die within 12 months after their fall due to the complication and ailments associated with the fractures (Hayes, 2003).

The rates of suffering hip fracture gradually increase with age among men and women although women tend to be more affected than men. Elderly people aged 85 years and beyond are more susceptible to getting bone fractures as compared to the people aged 65, they have 10 times chances of suffering the difficulty. Osteoporosis increases a person’s possibilities of prolonging an injury incase they have a hip fracture. When an individual suffering from osteoporosis falls down their chances of sustaining bone fracture are highly increased because their skeletal structure is generally weak and creates room for the side effects to escalate further. Of all the hip fracture cases reported in the globe 76% occur in elderly women, as they grow older, women tend to have weaker skeletal structures a factor accrued to the pregnancy process which imbibes the calcium and iron minerals from the women skeletal structure rendering them fragile.

In order to prevent hip fractures it’s important that the aged populace exercise regularly. Exercising improves and also maintains body balance allowing the elderly to have stability and ability to perform normal activities with less effort. For the people aged 65 and above its very important to carry out annual examinations to ascertain the lacking minerals and the necessary precautions necessary to ensure body stability and balance. The environment in which the elderly live should be free from fall hazards to ensure that the floors and the ground should not be slippery the bed and even the seats should be comfortable and low for ease in access.


Criddle, RA (2000). Hip fracture outcomes: functional status in older people living in the community. Australian Journal of Medicine 2000.

Hayes, DC, Lipsitz LA (2003). The Impact of near the hip fracture risk in elderly nursing homes. Health Journal 2003; 50:19-21.

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Hough S (2005). Osteoporosis in South Africa. Web.

Leibson CL, Ransom, JE. (2004). Mortality, disability, and nursing home use for persons with hip fracture. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 2004; 56:1623–30.

Magaziner J, Dolan M. (2005). Recovery from hip fracture and nursing care. Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences 2005; 34A (3):54-76

National Center for Health Statistics (2009). Trends in Health and Aging. Web.

The international Osteoporosis Foundation. The Asian Audit: Epidemiology, costs and burden of osteoporosis in Asia 2009. Hawana publisher Journal 2003.

U.S. Bureau of the Census (2006). Population Projections Program, Washington, D.C. Web.

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