Impact on sufferers

Impact on sufferers

Fragility fractures are very common; up to one half of older women and one fifth of older men will suffer one during their lifetimes. And when individuals have suffered one fragility fracture, their risk of suffering second and subsequent fractures is doubled compared to those who are fracture free. Countless millions of older people throughout the world are caught in a vicious ‘fragility fracture cycle’ which results in disability, institutionalisation and premature death for many.


Hip fractures are, arguably, the most catastrophic fragility fracture for sufferers and their families:

Less than half of individuals who survive a hip fracture will walk without aids again.

60% of hip fracture sufferers require assistance with activities of daily living one year after the hip fracture occurred.

60% of hip fracture sufferers report pain in the fractured hip and more than 30% report that the pain disrupts their sleep.

Vertebral fractures exert a significant burden on sufferers, including:

Back pain, height loss and deformity.

Reduced quality of life and depression.

Deterioration of activities of daily living.

The Global Longitudinal Study of Osteoporosis in Women (GLOW) has also reported that non-hip non-vertebral fractures have a detrimental effect on quality of life.


Hip fracture is a leading cause of institutionalisation of older people:

Among women suffering a hip fracture in Belgium, 19% were newly admitted to nursing homes during the year following hospitalisation compared to just 4% of age and residence matched controls.

Investigators from Norway reported that the proportion of individuals living in nursing homes increased from 15% to 30% after sustaining a hip fracture.

A study from the United States reported the proportion of men and women living in an institution before their hip fracture to be 6.8% and 13%, respectively. After hip fracture, 26.8% of men and 25.6% of women were newly admitted to institutions.

A large-scale study from Canada reported that fragility fractures at any skeletal site were associated with increased rates of institutionalisation.


Hip fractures have been reported to be the most common cause of accident-related death in older people in the United Kingdom. Thirty percent die within a year.

In 2010, the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) estimated that 43,000 deaths in the European Union 27 countries were causally related to fragility fractures. Hip fractures were accountable for 50% of these deaths, 28% related to clinical vertebral fractures and the remaining 22% to other fragility fractures. A compendium of country-specific reports provided estimates for the individual countries. See:

Osteoporosis in the European Union: medical management, epidemiology and economic burden. Arch Osteoporos. 2013;8(1-2):136. PubMed ID 24113837

Osteoporosis in the European Union: a compendium of country-specific reports. Arch Osteoporos. 2013;8(1-2):137. PubMed ID 24113838