Recent projections indicate that the incidence and cost of osteoporosis-related fractures will double in China by 2035, according to data published in Osteoporosis International.
For the study, researchers estimated that approximately 2.33 million (95% CI, 2.08-2.58) fractures related to osteoporosis were estimated to occur in those aged 50 years and older in 2010, costing the Chinese health care system an estimated $9.45 billion (95% CI, 8.78-10.11). Women accounted for 73% of the costs, as they experienced about three times more fractures than men.
In their estimates, the researchers found that both fracture incidence and related health care costs will double by 2035. However, looking even further, they discovered that the annual number of osteoporosis-related fractures is estimated to increase to 5.99 million (95% CI, 5.44-6.55) while costs are expected to increase to $25.43 billion (95% CI, 23.92-26.95) by 2050.
“With increasing life expectancy and a growing population of seniors aged over 70 years, there is no doubt that the burden of osteoporosis and related fractures will grow dramatically in China,” lead investigator Lei Si, of the Menzies Institute for Medical Research at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Australia, and the School of Health Administration at Anhui Medical University in China, said in a press release.
“Our study underlines the need for an urgent focus on fracture preventive strategies and resources to treat and care for elderly fracture patients in the future.”
According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), by 2050, more than 50% of all osteoporotic fractures will occur in Asia, with China bearing the brunt of the burden due to its large population of seniors.
Additionally, though the Chinese population is expected to decrease to 1.3 billion by 2050, people aged older than 50 years will comprise slightly less than half (49%) of the total population while those aged 70 and older will increase from 81 million in 2013 to 263 million by 2050.
“We have identified that osteoporosis fractures represent a huge and increasing cost to Chinese society. We now need to identify effective screening, prevention and treatment strategies that are good value for money in order to reduce the size of this problem,” study investigator Andrew Palmer, also of the Menzies Institute for Medical Researcher at the University of Tasmania, said in the release.
“Our team has just finished developing a cutting edge tool to do this, and we will be working intensively to find the optimal screening and treatment strategies for China.”
The researchers used a state-transition microsimulation model to simulate annual incident and fractures and costs for the study. They performed the simulation with a 1-year cycle length from the Chinese health care system perspective. Using 100 unique patient populations for 2010, the researchers then estimated incident fractures and annual costs by multiplying the age- and sex-specific annual fracture risks and costs by corresponding the population totals in each of the 100 categories.
Projections through 2050 were performed by multiplying the 2010 fracture risks and costs by the respective annual population estimates. Costs are presented 2013 US dollars.