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World Osteoporosis Day, a silent disease

It is currently estimated that 80% of patients with osteoporosis do not receive the correct diagnosis or treatment after a fracture, as most do not know they have it.

As part of World Osteoporosis Day, lto the Spanish Society of Endocrinology and Nutrition (SEEN) warns about the dangers of this “silent disease“. This is how he defines it María Cortés Berdonces, coordinator of the Bone Mineral Metabolism Group of the SEEN.

“Most people don’t know they have it until they break a bone from a fall or a minor blow,” says the expert.

According to the institution’s own estimates, it is estimated that 80% of patients with osteoporosis do not receive the appropriate diagnosis or treatment after a fracture.

Awareness on World Osteoporosis Day

Osteoporotic fractures cause more days of hospitalization in women aged 45 than other diseases, such as diabetes, breast cancer or a heart attack. What’s more, 24% of people who have suffered a hip fracture die in the first year.

“Osteoporosis is an important public health problem, and the consequence, the fracture, has a great impact on the patient’s quality of life and morbidity and mortality”, emphasizes Dr. Cortés Berdonces.

The expert insists on the importance of social awareness regarding this disease, because to prevent it we must know it in the first instance.

Thus, he speaks of the “imminent risk“, this probability of suffering a successive fracture in the 6 or 12 months following a first one.

One way or another, each case must be studied by one expertwhich will evaluate whether or not there is any disease that is causing poor bone quality, thus being able to prevent this type of fractures.

A disease that goes unnoticed

Fractures of reduced impact in an osteoporotic location (vertebrae, hip, radius, pelvis and humerus) such as:

  • The one caused by a fall from the person’s own height
  • Those without trauma
  • For a cough
  • For weight lifting

These fractures can originate from poor bone quality and are not always detected in routine tests, such as densitometry.

EFE/DPA/EP/Bernd Thissen

But the greatest danger is no longer just underdiagnosis, but the fact that each osteoporotic fracture increases the risk of a new one by up to two times, regardless of whether low bone mass has previously been detected, as indicated the SEEN expert.

And it is that those patients with a more serious recent osteoporotic fracture, such as a vertebral, hip, pelvis, humerus or radius fracture, present an imminent risk of fracture in the following 6-12 months.

This risk of successive osteoporotic fracture is 4 times bigger in vertebral fractures, especially if they are multiple or more serious. A factor to add to the equation will be age, which makes it even more likely.

“25% of patients over the age of 65 with a vertebral fracture will fracture again within the first two years,” says Endocrinology.


The treatment of an osteoporotic fracture will always vary depending on the location. It will be the traumatologist who prescribes it after one study of bone metabolism appropriate.

In this sense, the work of the Fracture Coordination Units (FLS), services made up of specialists in bone mineral metabolism such as endocrinologists, rheumatologists, traumatologists and rehabilitators who identify those patients at greatest risk of fracture.


The variable that occurs most frequently in the population is the postmenopausal and senile osteoporosis, which affects 22.5% of women. In the case of men, it is estimated that 6.8% of those over 50 suffer from this pathology.

Of course, although to a lesser extent, osteoporosis can also affect young people.

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