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Number of osteoporotic-type fractures are levelling-off among Irish patients

The study, which was conducted by researchers from Our Lady’s Hospital, Limerick; St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin; and the RCSI is a follow-up to research previously published by the group, which found a continuous increase in the incidence of all osteoporotic-type fractures in Ireland between 2000 and 2009, with a decrease in the age-standardised rates, with the exception of the 55-59 year age group.

The aim of the new study was to continue the trend analyses from 2009 onwards of all hospitalisations for osteoporotic-type fractures in males and females aged 50 years old and over in Ireland between 2010 and 2014. 

A second objective was to project the number of hip fractures in the Republic of Ireland expected by 2046, based on the 2014 incidence data.

According to the results, between 2010 and 2014, the absolute numbers of all osteoporotic-type fractures decreased by 0.4 per cent in females and by 3.9 per cent in males, while the absolute numbers of hip fractures increased by 0.2 per cent in women but decreased by 12.8 per cent in males. 

The age-standardised rates for hip fractures decreased in all age groups in both females and males, with the exception of males 85 years of age and older who showed a 1.8 per cent increase.

The authors stated that assuming stable, age-standardised incidence rates from 2014 over the next 30 years, the number of hospitalisations for hip fractures is projected to increase three-fold, from 4,301 in 2014 to 12,708 in 2046.

Half of these hip fracture patients in 2046 will be in the 85 years or older age group, increasing from 36 per cent in 2014.

“In contrast to the results of previously-published studies on trends in fracture incidence in Ireland, the present study identified a stabilising of the trends in the number of hospitalisations for osteoporotic-type fractures in Ireland since 2010,” according to the authors. 

“The incidence of hospitalisation for hip fractures decreased by 12.8 per cent in males. The age-standardised rates in both women and men also fell, with the exception of men aged 85 years. The declining trends may be partly explained by the specific measures taken in recent years in fall prevention in at-risk groups and the heightened awareness of osteoporosis in general in Ireland.”

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