A new report by the National Osteoprosis Foundation finds that fractures due to osteoporosis continue to be a big problem for the life and health of Americans. Data from the report shows s many as 2 million Medicare beneficiaries sustained 2.3 million osteoporotic fractures in 2015. Moreover, nearly one in five died within 12 months of a new fracture. The data show that osteoporotic fractures are responsible for more hospitalizations than heart attacks, strokes, and breast cancer combined.
The data from this NOF study comes from examining Medicare claims made in 2015. The authors were looking primarily at “new” osteoporotic fractures by excluding Medicare patients who had a previous osteoporotic fracture in the prior 6- to 12- months.
According to the study, female beneficiaries had a 79% higher rate of osteoporotic fracture than males and the most common fractures involved the spine and hip, representing 40% of all osteoporotic fractures in the Medicare population in 2015. Overall, nearly 20% of patients died within 12 months of a new osteoporotic fracture, and those with a hip fracture had the highest mortality, with 30% dying within 12 months. In addition, approximately 15% of those who experienced a new osteoporotic fracture had one or more subsequent fractures within 12 months of their first fracture.
Only 9% of women who suffered an osteoporotic fracture were screened for osteoporosis with a bone mineral density test within 6 months following their initial fracture. The proper follow-up after an osteoporotic fracture is vital to reducing subsequent fractures. The right plan following a fracture is vital to have a good quality of life and avoid an early death. A second osteoprotic fracture costs Medicare a lot of money. According to the report, the incremental medical cost to Medicare of a subsequent fracture was more than $20,700. Translated to the estimated 307,000 Medicare patients who suffered a subsequent fracture during a follow-up of 2- to 3 years and survived at least 180 days after the second fracture, the amount would exceed $6.3 billion in allowed cost to Medicare the study authors note. Reductions of just 5% to 20% in the rate of subsequent fractures could have led to savings of $310 million to $1.2 billion, respectively, the authors estimate.
The best way to treat a fracture is to never have one in the first place. An osteoporotic fracture can be avoided by not having osteoporosis in the first place. This is done by stressing your bones throughout your life. So strength training as a preventative measure starting out when you are young and continuing it all through adulthood. It is never too late to start a strength training program but the later you start the harder it will be for measurable change. Additionally you should understand the side effects of any medications or treatments you take or have taken as there are a number that can reduce your bone density. Taking a treatment that reduces bone density means you need to increase what you do to limit or reverse the loss.
Spend the time and even money on working on your health before you have osteoporosis, or any health issue for that matter. It is far easier, and less costly, to work to prevent a loss than it is to rehab after a loss. If you have questions on what to do, or where to start, contact us we would be happy to help.