IOF urges action following landmark ‘Global Burden of Disease 2010’ study in the Lancet

Study shows that musculoskeletal disorders, including osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, are second greatest cause of disability worldwide

A landmark study published in The Lancet on 15th December 2012 reinforces IOF’s call for urgent action on musculoskeletal diseases, including osteoporosis and fragility fractures.

New data from the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study reveals that:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders are the second greatest cause of disability as measured by years lived with disability (YLDs) worldwide and across most regions of the world. [J A1]
  • As a group musculoskeletal disorders cause 213% of all years-lived-with-disability (YLDs). This is second only to mental and behavioural disorders which account for 22.7% of YLDs.
  • In terms of both death and disability (DALYs), musculoskeletal diseases are the non-communicable diseases that have the fourth greatest impact on the health of the world population (6.8%). They closely follow cardiovascular and circulatory diseases (11.8%), tumours (7.7%), and mental/behavioural disorders (7.4%).
  • Disability due to musculoskeletal disorders has increased by 45% from 1990 to 2010 compared to a 33% average across all other disease areas. Osteoarthritis is the fastest increasing major health condition.
  • Musculoskeletal conditions affect over 1.7 billion people worldwide, with back pain alone estimated to affect 632.045 million people.

A soon-to-be-released IOF study shows that in the European Union, osteoporosis alone affects 22 million women and 5.6 million men, resulting in 3.5 million new fractures annually. Thus osteoporosis costs European health care systems more than 37 billion euros annually and accounts for some 43,000 deaths per year (118 per day) due to fractures.

IOF CEO Judy Stenmark said “This first comprehensive study of the global impact of all diseases and risk factors clearly identifies musculoskeletal disorders as a major and increasing burden on societies worldwide. This increase is largely due to the ageing of the population, but sedentary, indoor lifestyles that result in low levels of physical activity and vitamin D, and more obesity in the population at large, are also significant contributing factors. “

Musculoskeletal conditions cause pain and physical disability that in older adults often results in loss of personal independence, loss of quality of life and need for long-term care.  From a health-economic perspective, these conditions place an enormous cost-burden on health care systems, and place a great burden on families and caregivers.

“Too many senior citizens lose their ability to lead active, productive, and independent lives due to musculoskeletal disorders,” said IOF President John Kanis. “The data presented in this important Study clearly supports IOF’s call for action on musculoskeletal diseases by national, regional and global health authorities. These diseases are ranked second in terms of disability and this is, unfortunately, not a ‘top ranking’ we want to boast about. It is a sad sign that not enough attention has been given to chronic musculoskeletal diseases as a health care priority.”

IOF urges that significant steps towards prevention must be taken to lessen the future burden of musculoskeletal diseases worldwide.