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Treatment of Osteoporosis

Treatment of Osteoporosis Introduction

Osteoporosis (or porous bone) is a disease in which bones become weak and, therefore, are more likely to break. Without prevention or treatment, osteoporosis can progress without pain or symptoms until a bone breaks (fractures).

  • Fractures commonly occur at the hip, spine, and wrist.
  • Osteoporosis is the underlying cause of more than 1.5 million fractures annually (300,000 hip fractures, approximately 700,000 vertebral fractures, 250,000 wrist fractures, and more than 300,000 fractures in other areas).
  • In the United States, the estimated annual cost (including hospitals and nursing homes) for osteoporosis and related injuries is $14 billion.
  • Osteoporosis is a major public health threat for 44 million Americans, 68% of whom are women.
  • In the United States, at least 10 million people currently have osteoporosis, and another 34 million have low bone mass (weak or thin bones); these people are at increased risk for fractures and osteoporosis.
  • Half of women and a quarter of men older than 50 years will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.
  • Osteoporosis is a global problem. Worldwide, one-third of women 60-70 years of age and two-thirds of women 80 years or older are estimated to have osteoporosis; a total of 200 million women are thought to be affected.
  • In several European countries, women older than 45 years of age spend more time in the hospital for osteoporosis-related problems than for any other disease.
  • In the next 50 years, the number of hip fractures for both men and women will more than double.
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), osteoporosis is the second leading health care problem after cardiovascular disease.
  • In France, Germany, Italy, the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Japan, less than half of women with osteoporosis are diagnosed with the disease.
Osteoporosis is not just an "old woman's disease." Although it is more common in white or Asian women older than 50 years of age, osteoporosis can occur at any age. In fact, more than 2 million American men have osteoporosis, and in women, bone loss can begin as early as age 25 years of age. Building strong bones and reaching peak bone density (maximum strength and solidness) before the age of 30 can be the best defense against developing osteoporosis. Also, a healthy lifestyle can keep bones strong, especially for people older than 30 years of age.

While treatments are available for osteoporosis, currently, no cure exists. Treatment of osteoporosis involves several aspects, including proper screening and diagnosis, medication, nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle changes.

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Osteoporosis: Treatment & Medication »

Osteoporosis is typically asymptomatic until a fracture occurs.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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