What is Osteoporosis?

What is Osteoporosis?

NCalifornia_flyer_front1An estimated 150 million people worldwide have osteoporosis leaving them at risk for the first-time.

Due to its prevalence worldwide, osteoporosis is considered as a serious public health concern. Currently it is estimated that over 200 million people worldwide suffer from this disease1. Approximately 30% of all postmenopausal women have osteoporosis in the United States and in Europe. At least 40% of these women2 and 15-30% of men3 will sustain one or more fragility fractures in their remaining lifetime. Ageing of populations worldwide will be responsible for a major increase of the incidence of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women4.

It has been shown that an initial fracture is a major risk factor for a new fracture. An increased risk of 86% for any fracture has been demonstrated in people that have already sustained a fracture5. Likewise, patients with a history of vertebral fracture have a 2.3-fold increased risk of future hip fracture and a 1.4-fold increase in risk of distal forearm fracture6.

Vertebral fractures

Vertebral fractures are rarely reported by physicians and remain most of the time ignored. Less than 10% of vertebral fractures result in hospitalization, even if they cause pain and substantial loss of quality of life7, 8.

In Europe, the prevalence defined by radiological criteria increases with age in both sexes and is almost as high in men as in women: 12% in females (range 6-21%) and 12% in males (range 8-20%)9. This fact could be explained by occupation-associated trauma in men10. New fractures are most likely in nearby vertebrae, and they occur more frequently in the mid-thoracic or thoracolumbar regions of the spine7.

In Europe, the age-standardized incidence of morphometric fracture is 10.7 and 5.7 per 1000 person-years in women and men, respectively11. These figures increase markedly with age in both women and men.

Hip fractures

Hip fracture is associated with serious disability and excess mortality. Women who have sustained a hip fracture have a 10-20% higher mortality than would be expected for their age12. The worldwide annual incidence of hip fracture is approximately 1.7 million.13.

Hip fracture rates vary markedly between populations. After age adjustment, hip fracture rates are more common in Scandinavian and North America than these observed in southern European, Asian and Latin American countries. There are wide discrepancies between the incidence rate in women and men: the sex ratio F/M is 4/5 and 90% of the hip fractures occur in people over 50 years old10.


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