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01.12.2018 | Research Article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Geriatrics 1/2018

Osteoporosis, diabetes, and hypertension are major risk factors for mortality in older adults: an intermediate report on a prospective survey of 1467 community-dwelling elderly healthy pensioners in Switzerland

BMC Geriatrics > Ausgabe 1/2018
Jean-Pierre Gutzwiller, Jean-Pierre Richterich, Zeno Stanga, Urs E. Nydegger, Lorenz Risch, Martin Risch



Osteoporosis is an important morbidity factor for ageing populations in developed countries. However, compared to the amount of information available on diabetes and cardiovascular disease, little is known about the direct impact of osteoporosis on general mortality in older age.


We obtained data from a prospective population-based cohort of pensioners from the SENIORLAB study who were subjectively healthy. The inclusion criteria were an age of at least 60 years and Swiss residence. We assessed and analysed clinical measures, voluntary reports, and laboratory values.


In total, 1467 subjects were included in the cohort. The mean follow-up time was 3.68 years (95% confidence interval, 3.64–3.71). The ages of the included participants ranged from 60 to 99 years. At follow-up, there were 1401 survivors, and 66 participants had died. According to the multivariate analysis (Cox regression), osteoporosis was the most important risk factor for all-cause mortality (hazard ratio, 4.46; 95% confidence interval, 1.82–10.91), followed by diabetes (hazard ratio, 2.17; 95% confidence interval, 1.04–4.52) and hypertension (hazard ratio, 1.81; 95% confidence interval, 1.09–3.03).


Osteoporosis is a major risk factor for all-cause mortality in a subjectively healthy senior population, followed by type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypertension. Osteoporosis should be more actively diagnosed in healthy pensioners before they develop osteoporosis-associated health incidents.

Trial registration

The present study was registered in the International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number registry: ISRCTN53778569.
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