Today the International Osteoporosis Foundation kicks off this year’s World Osteoporosis Day campaign with its ‘Love your Bones – Protect your Future’ call to action
Every year the 20th of October marks the beginning of a year-long campaign to raise global awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and related bone diseases. Today, from ImageBiopsy Lab we would like to pledge to do our utmost to disseminate information about osteoporosis, and contribute, in a way, to the World Osteoporosis Day campaign, organized by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) , and whose motto this year is ‘Love your Bones – Protect your Future’.
The occurrence of osteoporotic fractures is growing in several world areas
What is osteoporosis? Osteoporosis is an acquired condition characterized by reduced bone mass and micro-architectural deterioration of bone tissue, thereby causing bones to weaken. This results in increased susceptibility to fractures, which in turn contributes to higher risk of disability, and a poor state of general health. Given the steady rise in life expectancy, the occurrence of osteoporotic fractures is growing in several world areas. This poses an important economical burden to health systems, patients and their families. Even though this problematic has been already well reported, many concur that this disease is still markedly underdiagnosed, and therefore future fracture risk is also considerably underestimated, despite being preventable.
Up to 50% of women older than 50 years of age are at risk of osteoporosis
Who has osteoporosis? Approximately 200 million people in the world are affected by osteoporosis, and 8.9 million fractures occur annually worldwide, resulting in an osteoporotic fracture every 3 seconds. Although it is known that this condition in general affects both aging women and men, as well as young adults, the most common type is postmenopausal osteoporosis. This is a primary form of the disease afflicting women, due to oestrogen deficiency as a result of menopause. Women are thus four times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men, and therefore more female patients are affected by osteoporotic fractures. The incidence of fractures varies notably by country, but on average up to 50% of women older than 50 years of age are at risk.
Osteoporosis is often called a “silent disease” because you may not notice any symptom until a bone breaks
©World Osteoporosis Day 2017
How can we prevent osteoporotic fractures from happening? This is possible when people at high risk are identified at an early stage, and follow preventive strategies, such as regular exercise regimen, dietary calcium intake and vitamin D supplementation, in order to improve bone health and muscle strength. Nevertheless, osteoporosis is often called a “silent disease” because you may not notice any symptom until a bone breaks, which poses many hurdles when it comes to early diagnosis. In addition, the rates of screening are low and the current criteria used for bone mineral density to identify those at high risk are not very sensitive, thus leaving osteoporosis undiagnosed in many patients.
In order to improve the correct diagnosis, many predictive software-based tools have been developed over the last years. Not many of them are however, currently used to support clinical decision making to assess the disease, and discriminate between patients at high-risk and those at low-risk. For this reason, the team of ImageBiopsy Lab devotes all the energies to solve this problem using state-of-the-art computer-vision and AI technology.
written by Ines Fernandez Maestre