Erican osteoporosis researchers encounter harsh realities

Studies carried out in Latin America and North America emphasize the growing economic impact of osteoporosis on public health systems. A Latin American study of vertebral fractures in women has found that rates of osteoporosis are higher than previously estimated. North American studies show that people with the least socioeconomic status are less likely to be screened for the disease, even when screening is free. Studies also suggest that diagnosis and treatment of men younger than 65 is not cost effective unless their probability of developing the disease is greater than one in five.

In Latin America, Soft Bones Meet Hard Facts

Though the prevalence of osteoporosis in Latin American women is comparable to rates in other populations/counties, it is higher than predicted by prior, smaller studies that focused on hip fracture. That's one conclusion from LAVOS, or the Latin American Vertebral Osteoporosis Study, the first large-scale study designed to estimate the prevalence of vertebral fractures in Latin America. LAVOS shows that osteoporosis in women aged 50 and older is most prevalent in Mexico (19.5%) followed by Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, and Puerto Rico (12.1%). In people over 80 years old, the prevalence reaches almost 40% in Mexico.

These findings should serve as a wake up call to Latin American countries, which face a growing osteoporosis crisis. "Some estimates suggest that the incidence of hip fractures is steady or actually decreasing in Europe and North America, but life expectancy in Latin America is increasing dramatically and by 2025 we are going to have a big increase in the number of older people. Chronic diseases like osteoporosis will become part of the main health care agenda," said Dr. Patricia Clark, from the Clinical Epidemiology Unit CMN Siglo XXI-IMMS and National Autonomous University of Mexico, who presented preliminary findings today at the IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis in Toronto, Canada (see conferen

Contact: A Leopold
International Osteoporosis Foundation

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