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How Common Is Osteoporosis


Topic Overview

Osteoporosis is a major public health problem that threatens over 40 million people in the United States.1

  • After a person reaches his or her peak bone-building years, around age 30, the bones slowly begin to thin. This process accelerates after age 45 or 55. Osteoporosis usually does not have a noticeable effect on people until they are 60 or older.
  • Women generally have less bone mass than men and lose bone mass sooner and faster than men.
  • Women are far more likely to have osteoporosis than men.2
  • Women of European and Asian ancestry are more likely to have osteoporosis than those of African ancestry.
  • About 1 out of 2 women and 1 out of 4 men older than 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.1
  • Most hip fractures in older women are related to osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is rare in children and teens. Osteoporosis that occurs in children and teens usually is caused by other medical conditions or by taking certain medicines known to cause osteoporosis.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. National Institutes of Health (2011). Osteoporosis overview. Available online: http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/bone/osteoporosis/overview.asp.

  2. Anderson JJB (2008). Nutrition and bone health. In LK Mahan, S Escott-Stump, eds., Krause's Food and Nutrition Therapy, 12th ed., pp. 614–635. St. Louis: Saunders Elsevier.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerCarla J. Herman, MD, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
Last RevisedNovember 10, 2010

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