What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is defined as a skeletal disorder characterized by
compromised bone strength predisposing to an increased risk of
fracture. Bone strength reflects the integration of two main
features: bone density and bone quality. Bone density is expressed
as grams of mineral per area or volume and in any given individual
is determined by peak bone mass and amount of bone loss. Bone
quality refers to architecture, turnover, damage accumulation (e.g.,
microfractures) and mineralization. A fracture occurs when a
failure-inducing force (e.g., trauma) is applied to osteoporotic
bone. Thus, osteoporosis is a significant risk factor for fracture,
and a distinction between risk factors that affect bone metabolism
and risk factors for fracture must be made.
Facts and Figures
Osteoporosis is a major public health threat for 44 million
Americans, 68% of whom are women.
In the U.S. today, 10 million individuals already have
osteoporosis and 34 million more have low bone mass, placing
them at increased risk for this disease.
One out of every two women and one in four men over 50 will
have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.
More than 2 million American men suffer from osteoporosis,
and millions more are at risk. Each year, 80,000 men suffer
a hip fracture and one-third of these men die within a
Osteoporosis can strike at any age.
Osteoporosis is responsible for more than 1.5 million
fractures annually, including 300,000 hip fractures, and
approximately 700,000 vertebral fractures, 250,000 wrist
fractures, and more than 300,000 fractures at other sites.
Estimated national direct expenditures (hospitals and
nursing homes) for osteoporosis and related fractures is $14
billion each year.