Part of: Ill Health and Disability

Related to: Ageing Population, [[Health Checks]], Alcohol, Diet and Malnutrition, Medicines Management and Optimisation, Physical and Mobility Impairments, Smoking, Unintentional Injuries

Ket Facts:

  • There were 267 people aged 50 years and over in 2012/13 (financial year) registered with osteoporosis in GP practises in Bath and North East Somerset, a rate of 0.4% of the 50 years and over registered GP population.
  • There were 713 admissions where osteoporosis was the primary diagnosis in Bath and North East Somerset in 2011. 81% were female.
  • The hospital admissions rate is 3 times higher for females
  • The most common reason for admission in B&NES was due to hip fracture

Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the bones, causing them to become weak and fragile and more likely to break (fracture). These fractures most commonly occur in the spine, wrist and hips but can affect other bones such as the arm or pelvis.

In childhood, bones grow and repair very quickly, but this process slows as you get older. Bones stop growing in length between the ages of 16 and 18, but continue to increase in density until you are in your late 20s. From about the age of 35, you gradually lose bone density. This is a normal part of ageing, but for some people it can lead to osteoporosis and an increased risk of fractures.

Other things that increase the risk of developing osteoporosis include:

  • diseases of the hormone producing glands – such as an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism)
  • a family history of osteoporosis
  • long-term use of certain medications that affect bone strength or hormone levels, for example, oral prednisolone
  • malabsorption problems
  • heavy drinking and smoking

There are often no warning signs for osteoporosis until someone experiences a fracture, often after a minorfall. The most common injuries in people with osteoporosis are wrist fractures, hip fractures or fractures of the spinal bones (vertebrae). 1

What does the data say?

Approximately 3 million people in the UK are thought to have osteoporosis, and there are over 250,000 fractures every year as a result. Although commonly associated with post-menopausal women, osteoporosis can also affect men, younger women and children. 2

Bath and North East Somerset

There were 267 people aged 50 years and over in 2012/13 (financial year) registered with osteoporosis (secondary prevention of fragility fractures register) in GP practises in Bath and North East Somerset.* 3

The prevalence of people aged 50 years and over on the osteoporosis Register (secondary prevention of fragility fractures register) in the B&NES GP 50 years and over registered population in 2012/13 (financial year) was 0.4%, slightly higher than the 2012/13 (financial year) national rate of 0.2%.* 4

*It is important to note that the above rates are based on the GP registered population of Bath and North East Somerset and so some of these people may not be residents of Bath North East Somerset. Nevertheless, the vast majority of people will be registered with a GP in their county of residence.

For more up to date prevalence figures for osteoporosis recorded as part of the NHS Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF), see the Ill Health and Disability section. 

There were 713 hospital admissions where osteoporosis was the primary diagnosis in Bath and North East Somerset in 2011. 81% were female.5

The rate of hospital admissions in Bath and North East Somerset for osteoporosis for males is 765 per 100,000 and 2201 per 100,000 for females, almost 3 times higher. This rate is decreasing among males and increasing in females.6

The most common reason for an osteoporosis hospital admission in Bath and North East Somerset (2006-2011) was fracture of the hip, followed by fractures to the arms or wrist. The rate for hip fracture admissions in females is twice that of males.7

Between 2006-2011 hospital admissions in Bath and North East Somerset for all types of fractures increase in incidence over the age of 65 and the rate for admissions for hip fractures was 33 times higher in the 90+ age group than for those aged 65-69.8

What can we realistically change?

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)(2012) guidance