Menú Cerrar

Disease burden of osteoporosis and other non-communicable diseases in Lebanon

Bassatne A1Harb H2Jaafar B1Romanos J2Ammar W2El-Hajj Fuleihan G3.

Osteoporos Int. 2020 May 6. doi: 10.1007/s00198-020-05433-w. [Epub ahead of print]



Osteoporosis is more common than most feared non-communicable diseases in the Middle East. This justifies the need to place osteoporosis as a health priority in the region.


Osteoporosis is a common disease associated with severe debilitating consequences. The objective of this study is To evaluate and compare disease burden from osteoporosis and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Lebanon.


We assessed the prevalence of osteoporosis and other NCDs, such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and cardiovascular diseases, based on a published population-based study of Lebanese ≥ 65 years. We compared incidence rates of hip fractures and major osteoporotic fractures (MOF) (spine, hip, humerus, and forearm) to the five commonest cancers in women ≥ 50 years. Rates were based on the national hip fracture and cancer registry data, provided by the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health. MOF incidence rates were derived from national hip fracture incidence rates and MOF/hip fractures incidence rate ratios from the literature.


Over 70% of elderly Lebanese had osteoporosis defined by densitometric criteria or prevalent morphometric vertebral fractures. This by far exceeded the prevalence of other NCDs, such as hypertension (53%), diabetes (21%), dyslipidemia (31%), and cardiovascular diseases (30%). Morphometric vertebral fractures (grades 2 and 3) were present in 19% of women and 12% of men. The incidence rates for MOF were 1.6 times greater than those for breast cancer, and 7.4-9.9 folds higher than those for the next commonest cancers of the lungs, colon, and ovaries. Hip fracture incidence rates were lower than those of breast cancer but were 2.1-2.8 folds higher than those of the above-mentioned cancers.


This first of its kind study in the Middle East demonstrates that osteoporosis is a common disease, more common than most feared NCDs. Our findings are comparable to those in western populations and justify placing osteoporosis on the top of NCDs’ priority list in our country and possibly the region.