Due to economic development, non-communicable diseases have become the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the region, yet osteoporosis has been identified as a national health priority in only three countries in this report and national osteoporosis treatment guidelines are available in only five countries.
As well DXA technology, considered the gold standard for measurement of bone mineral density, is not widely available or available only in urban centres in many cases. Furthermore, the level of awareness of osteoporosis among primary healthcare professionals is estimated as poor to medium in many countries. Education and lifestyle prevention programmes for the general public, measures which could help stem the rising tide of fractures in the coming decades, are also seriously lacking.
Widespread vitamin D deficiency and low calcium intake may be in part responsible for the alarming increase in osteoporosis. The prevalence of hypovitaminosis D is one of the highest in the world, and has been estimated to range between 50-90% in many countries and across all age groups, despite ample sunshine in the region.
Dr. med Gemma Adib, first author of the report and General Secretary of the Pan Arab Osteoporosis Society, stated "Vitamin D is an essential component of bone health and a relatively inexpensive way to decrease fracture risk. It is essential that the region develops vitamin D supplementation strategies based on local data for at-risk groups."
For the individual, fragility fractures result in great suffering, disability as well as loss of productivity and quality of life. Fractures also represent an enormous burden for healthcare systems. Older people who suffer hip fractures are often faced with long-term disability that results in loss of independence and higher risk of death. Mortality rates after hip fracture may be
|Contact: L. Misteli|
International Osteoporosis Foundation