The skeleton of people living with osteoporosis becomes fragile, which can result in fractures occurring as a result of a minor fall or a slight bump.
Osteoporosis affects all bones in the body, with fractures occurring most frequently in the hip, spine, wrist or shoulder.
- Fracture begets fracture: People who suffer a first fracture are considerably more likely to suffer further fractures.
Fractures caused by osteoporosis exert a tremendous burden on older New Zealanders, and in consequence our national economy, health and social care system. Half of those who suffer a hip fracture will require long-term care, and a quarter will suffer an early death. In 2007, the total cost of osteoporosis was over NZ$1 billion, with hip fracture care alone costing NZ$105 million. Every day, NZ$325,000 is spent on treating fractures caused by osteoporosis and 300 people recovering from fractures occupy vital hospital beds. As New Zealand’s 1 million baby boomers retire and age, this burden is set to increase rapidly.
The good news is that osteoporosis can be treated and fractures prevented. Osteoporosis NZ is continuously working to improve the systems of care across our country to ensure that people living with osteoporosis receive the help that they need. Our website provides information and guidance for people with concerns about osteoporosis to enable them to take ownership of their bone health. The links on the left offer an overview of osteoporosis and the fractures that it causes, and how it can be prevented and treated.