In Spain, PFO calls for fragility fractures to be made a Public Health Priority

woman with walker

This article appeared in Spanish in the online journal GeriatricArea

In a Manifesto, the Platform for the Prevention of Osteoporosis Fractures (PFO) in Spain, an initiative of the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) Capture the Fracture® program in collaboration with UCB and Amgen, calls for osteoporosis fractures to become a priority within Spain’s different health policies and strategies.

Why is the Platform for the Prevention of Osteoporosis Fractures calling for fragility fractures to become a Public Health priority? As pointed out by Carmen de Aragón, one of the coordinators of this Platform, "through the Platform’s Manifesto we want to express our concern about the high impact that fragility fractures have on people's daily lives, a public health problem that should be a priority because we should not forget that we are currently living in a context of progressive aging of the population and with it an increase in the number of fragility fractures that occur in our country."

In Spain, a fragility fracture due to osteoporosis occurs every two minutes

Fragility fractures are one of the most common consequences of osteoporosis, a chronic and progressive disease suffered by more than 3 million Spaniards, which causes bones to become more porous, fragile, and, as a consequence, more prone to fracture.

It is estimated that in Spain a fragility fracture due to osteoporosis occurs every two minutes, i.e. a total of 330,000 fractures per year. The incidence is on the rise due to the progressive aging of the population: in fact, it is estimated that the number of fragility fractures will increase by around 30% by the year 2034, reaching 370,000 cases per year.

In this context, Remedios Martel, also coordinator of the PFO, stresses that this Manifesto "places patients with osteoporosis and who have suffered a fragility fracture as a consequence of this pathology, as well as their immediate environment, at the center of the system. It allows us to internalize that people affected by fragility fractures also live with pain, reduced mobility, and even a greater degree of dependence. In this sense, it is a necessity and a priority to continue working on the development of policies and resources to cover the main unmet needs of patients and their families."

Strategies for the prevention and management of fragility fractures

Already included previously in the report 'Fragility Fractures Positioning Report Political, Social and Health Challenge for Healthy Ageing', also produced by the PFO, the Manifesto sets several strategic points of action:

  • Include and prioritize fragility fractures in Health Strategies and Plans.
  • Promote programs for the prevention of falls and fractures in old age.
  • Implement clinical practice guidelines in such a way that they set out a 'road map' for the most appropriate diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up for people with previous fractures.
  • Commit to scientific research.
  • Create fracture registries at the national level and by autonomous communities.
  • Improve coordination between the different levels of care.
  • Increase the number of Fracture Liaison Services (FLS).
  • Promote the role of Primary Care in all stages of the care process.
  • Create the necessary counselling and training programmes for patients and relatives.
  • Involve society as a whole through awareness and sensitization campaigns.

The PFO Manifesto is available on the website of the Platform for the Prevention of Fractures and includes the main demands in terms of prevention and approach to fragility fractures of the PFO.