Poor bone health needs to be addressed

Australia’s poor bone health needs to be addressed, experts say

 NEWS: Government to tackle Australia’s growing osteoporosis problem
  • NEWS: Government to tackle Australia’s growing osteoporosis problem

Bone health experts say more needs to be done to reduce preventable deaths from falls and fractures. Poor Boone Health needs to be addressing. Reports show as people break as many as 160,000  bones each year in Australia due to poor bone health, costing billions of dollars.

A Ministerial roundtable, held in Canberra this morning,  discusses the problem which experts say needs research and answers.

“We underestimate the risk. Events are huge and effects underestimated,” said Professor Kerrie Sanders, from Australian Catholic University’s Institute for Health and Ageing. “Sixty six percent of Australians aged 50 years and over have poor bone mass.”

Experts are hoping for the government to launch a plan of action by the end of this year. (9NEWS)

Plan

Experts are hoping for the government to launch a plan of action by the end of this year to action the incidence of  poor bone health.

Last month experts released a national audit into hip fractures. This shows the problem is getting worse, and up to 25 percent of patients will die in the year after leaving hospital.

The report also reveals only 16 percent of patients are on bone protection medication when leaving hospital. 60 percent of patients in the United Kingdom have medication.

Prof Sanders said fracture liaison services in hospitals and GP clinics would help identify patients at risk of fracture to prevent further incidents and save lives.

She believes it would make a huge difference. “At the moment we know that people who come in with a fracture, we assess only 20 percent  for osteoporosis,” Prof Sanders said. Another expert echos her sentiments, stating that systems need to be put in place to monitor these patients. “We could be preventing numbers of fractures in the tens of thousands, that would follow onto to people having less morbidity, less discomfort and living longer in their own homes,” Professor Mark Cooper, Deputy Chair of the Osteoporosis Australia Medical Committee, says.

Terry Hamilton is one of many Australians who have suffered broken bones following a fall. (9NEWS)

Personal Story

Terry Hamilton is one of many Australians who have a broken bone following a fall (9NEWS). Experts are hoping for a plan of action by the end of this year.

Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt indicates she will speak to his Federal Health counterpart about the issue. But she said we need to share the responsibility of funding. “There’s always a funding need but also we have to look at how states and territories tackle this issue,” he said.

Terry Hamilton, an 81-year-old from Parramatta, broke his pelvis, hip and spine in one fall. Then he broke his collarbone and wrist. Mr Hamilton said he believes the government needs to invest more to prevent the pain and suffering.

People should assess their risk by clicking here

Further information

The Arthritis and Diabetes Foundation Lemnos St Shenton Park has information pamphlets on managing risk. Helen Potter FACP

The risk of falls also needs assessment and treatment – this is offered at SCGH adn other sites.

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