Sanchez-Riera L, Carnahan E, Vos T, Veerman L, Norman R, Lim SS, Hoy D, Smith E, Wilson N, Nolla J M, Chen JS, Macara M, Kamalaraj N, Li Y, Kok C, Santos-Hernandez C, March L. - 45331 N - Ann Rheum Dis 2014 ; in press.

The global burden attributable to low bone mineral density

INTRODUCTION: The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 estimated the worldwide health burden of 291 diseases and injuries and 67 risk factors by calculating disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). Osteoporosis was not considered as a disease, and bone mineral density (BMD) was analysed as a risk factor for fractures, which formed part of the health burden due to falls.

OBJECTIVES: To calculate (1) the global distribution of BMD, (2) its population attributable fraction (PAF) for fractures and subsequently for falls, and (3) the number of DALYs due to BMD.

METHODS: A systematic review was performed seeking population-based studies in which BMD was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry at the femoral neck in people aged 50 years and over. Age- and sex-specific mean +/- SD BMD values (g/cm2) were extracted from eligible studies. Comparative risk assessment methodology was used to calculate PAFs of BMD for fractures. The theoretical minimum risk exposure distribution was estimated as the age- and sex-specific 90th centile from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). Relative risks of fractures were obtained from a previous meta-analysis. Hospital data were used to calculate the fraction of the health burden of falls that was due to fractures.

RESULTS: Global deaths and DALYs attributable to low BMD increased from 103 000 and 3 125 000 in 1990 to 188 000 and 5 216 000 in 2010, respectively. The percentage of low BMD in the total global burden almost doubled from 1990 (0.12%) to 2010 (0.21%). Around one-third of falls-related deaths were attributable to low BMD.

CONCLUSIONS: Low BMD is responsible for a growing global health burden, only partially representative of the real burden of osteoporosis.