Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become fragile and brittle, leading to a higher risk of fractures than in normal bone. As a result, even a minor bump or accident can cause serious fractures.
Sarcopenia is a syndrome characterised by progressive and generalised loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength with a risk of adverse outcomes such as physical disability, poor quality of life and death.
Arthritis is a name for a group of conditions affecting the joints. These conditions cause damage to the joints, usually resulting in pain and stiffness. Arthritis can affect many different parts of the joint and nearly every joint in the body.
Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a group of muscle diseases that weaken the musculoskeletal system and hamper locomotion. Muscular dystrophies are characterized by progressive skeletal muscle weakness, defects in muscle proteins, and the death of muscle cells and tissue.
Musculoskeletal diseases have featured heavily in a comprehensive research report into the global impact of all diseases and risk factors published by The Lancet and described by Lancet Editor-in-Chief Dr Richard Horton as "a critical contribution to our understanding of present and future health priorities for countries and the global community". The study identified musculoskeletal as the second greatest cause of years lived with disability (YLD) globally, and in nearly all regions. Interestingly falls, which are also a key research interest for AIMSS, accounted for an additional 19,459 YLD. Taken together, falls and musculoskeletal conditions (185,414 YLD) are the greatest cause of disability throughout the world.
The study also reported a 45% increase in YLDs from musculoskeletal conditions between 1990 and 2010 driven largely by population growth and ageing. This highlights the important implications for health systems globally and the need to develop effective and affordable strategies to respond to this burden.