The admission rate for hip fractures, a common fall injury among the elderly that is associated with a high mortality rate, has decreased despite the rapid increase of the elderly population in the nation, National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) said yesterday. The hospital added that this is a sign of successful osteoporosis prevention.
Taiwan is among the countries with high hip fracture risk, with 196 annual incidences of hip fractures per 100,000 men and 392 per 100,000 women.
Both are higher than the thresholds — 150 per 100,000 and 300 per 100,000 respectively — designated by Osteoporosis International for high-risk countries.
“Taiwan’s population has been aging rapidly in the past 10 years, with people aged 50 and over increasing one-and-a-half times. With it, the total number of patients hospitalized because of bone fractures has also increased,” said Tsai Keh-sung (蔡克嵩), superintendent of NTUH Bei-Hu Branch.
However, according to a study conducted by the hospital, the admission rate for hip fractures among those aged 65 and above has been decreasing over the 12-year time span from 1999 to 2010, at an annual rate of 2.7 percent.
Chan Ding-cheng (詹鼎正), attending physician of geriatric medicine, said possible contributing factors in the decrease include the use of osteoporosis medications; education and activities promoted since 1997 by the Taiwanese Osteoporosis Association, healthcare providers and the Health Promotion Administration; a reduction in smoking; and the uptick in calcium and vitamin D intake.
“It’s also possible that the increase in the rate of obesity among Taiwanese has contributed to the lowering of the fracture rate, as studies have shown that people with a body mass index lower than 18.5 are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis and bone fractures,” Chan said.
However, it is not true that overweight or obese people are less likely to suffer from the injury than people within the normal weight range, Tsai said.
“The danger of osteoporosis has been underestimated,” said Yang Rong-sen (楊榮森), professor of orthopedics at NTUH.
“The one-year postoperative mortality rate for geriatric hip fracture patients is as high as 22 percent in men and 15 percent in women in Taiwan, with the rate being around the same at 20 to 24 percent worldwide,” he said.
“The rate is much higher than some of the cancers against which people generally take more precautions,” Yang said.
He added adding that the risk of a serious fracture increases after a first fracture, so the elderly should pay more attention to their bone health and try to prevent a first fracture.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,