Osteoporosis is a major public health problem in both Western and Asian populations. Because the aged population in Korea is increasing, the number of osteoporotic fractures is thought to be also increasing. However, there has been no nationwide analysis of osteoporotic fractures in Korea. We analyzed the incidence and cost of hip fracture from 2001 to 2004 by using data from the Health Insurance Review Agency, Korea. In the over 50 years age group, the number of hip fractures in women increased from 250.9/100,000 persons in 2001 to 262.8/100,000 in 2004, a 4.7% increase. However, that in men decreased from 162.8/100,000 in 2001 to 137.5/100,000 in 2004, a 15.5% decrease. Direct medical care costs of hip fracture increased from $62,707,697 in 2001 to $65,200,035 in 2004, and the proportional cost of hip fractures in the national medical costs increased by 4.5% over 4 years (from 0.200% in 2001 to 0.209% in 2004). On analysis of the population-based data obtained from the whole country from 2001 to 2004, the incidence rate of hip fractures in women, not in men, and its cost have increased in Korea. The gender distribution of hip fractures underlines the need for aggressive intervention in osteoporosis in elderly women.
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