Fragility is an increasingly used and abused term, to the point that we often forget what it is: we believe for example that it is only a synonym for osteoporosis, but as Maria Luisa Brandi, president of the Firmo Foundation for Bone Diseases, points out, this is just one of the risk factors for bone fractures.

An increasingly widespread problem

Knowing the other elements of risk and assessing one’s degree of danger is not secondary, because fragility bone fractures are widespread: at least four million Italians suffer from osteoporosis and therefore have weak bones, which can break in a breath, and every an estimated at least 600 thousand fragility fractures are estimated. They are for many more, explains Brandi. Every year we see 200 thousand vertebral fractures, but we know that they are only 20 percent of the total: in reality, therefore, fragility fractures exceed one million, with enormous costs for society. It is estimated that after the age of fifty it will happen to one in three women and one in five men, bringing pain, disability and also increasing the mortality of those who suffer them: Today they cost ten billion, but with the aging of the population it is estimated that they will increase 25 percent by 2030, bringing spending to 13 billion, the expert notes.


Possible prevention

The good news is that knowing your degree of risk can prevent you: 50 percent of fragility fractures could be avoided, explains Brandi. It would be enough to use a fracture risk chart together with the family doctor to identify one’s probability of an ‘accident’ at five or ten years and intervene accordingly, strengthening the muscles with exercise or even with the use of drugs, which unfortunately we can only prescribe after there has already been a fracture. There are alarm bells not to be missed: a reduction in height by more than four centimeters, for example, indicative of a vertebral fracture, if you fall while sitting or standing and fracture yourself, a sign of bone fragility, as well as if the fracture occurs. following minimal trauma. In all these cases it is necessary to talk to the doctor, as well as if you have been subjected to hormonal therapies for breast or prostate cancer because these also increase the risk of osteoporosis and bone fragility; evaluate how strong your skeleton is needed to intervene and strengthen it thanks to physical activity, the integration of calcium and vitamin D or even drugs that increase bone mass.

April 8, 2021 (change April 8, 2021 | 19:29)

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