Results from a study published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases suggest that low bone mineral density is a “growing global health burden” that is “only partially representative of the real burden of osteoporosis.”
In 2010, researchers conducted the Global Burden of Disease Study in which they assessed the worldwide health burden of 291 diseases and injuries as well as 67 risk factors via disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs). Osteoporosis, however, was not included, and bone mineral density (BMD) was only assessed as a risk factor for fractures.
To learn more, researchers performed a systematic review of population-based studies in which dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) was used to measure BMD at the femoral neck in people aged at least 50 years.
According to the data, global deaths and DALYs due to low BMD escalated from 103,000 and 3,125,000 in 1990 to 188,000 and 5,216,000 in 2010, respectively. Results also revealed a near doubling, from 0.12% to 0.21%, in percentage of low BMD in the total global burden.
About one-third of deaths related to falls could be attributed to low BMD.
The researchers concluded that low BMD represents an increasing public health burden, and these results may underestimate the problem, as they are not completely representative of the burden of osteoporosis.
The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 estimated the worldwide health burden of 291 diseases and injuries and 67 risk factors by calculating disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). Osteoporosis was not considered as a disease, and bone mineral density (BMD) was analysed as a risk factor for fractures, which formed part of the health burden due to falls.