Osteoporosis is defined by the World Health Organization as a disease “characterized by low bone mass and micro-architectural deterioration of bone tissue, leading to bone fragility and a consequent increase in risk of fracture.” Osteoporosis is a significant, worldwide public health problem that is becoming increasingly common. It is estimated that globally, 1 of every 2 women and 1 of every 4 men older than 50 years will have an osteoporosis-related fracture. In the United States, 1.5 million fractures related to osteoporosis occur annually, with the estimated cost of caring for these patients approaching $18 billion. This number is expected to triple by the year 2040. In older patients, a broken hip can increase mortality fourfold. Those with hip fractures have a 20% risk of entering a nursing home within a year of their fracture, and it is estimated that almost 50% of women with hip fractures do not fully regain previous function. Many patients with hip fractures experience a decline in function, along with increased feelings of isolation, depression, and fear of falling. In an individual with osteoporosis, the potential for falling becomes even more important.
Excerpted from BCSC 2020-2021 series: Section 1 - Update on General Medicine. For more information and to purchase the entire series, please visit https://www.aao.org/bcsc.