Osteoporosis

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Catherine Burt Driver, MD
    Catherine Burt Driver, MD

    Catherine Burt Driver, MD

    Catherine Burt Driver, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Driver is a member of the American College of Rheumatology. She currently is in active practice in the field of rheumatology in Mission Viejo, Calif., where she is a partner in Mission Internal Medical Group.

View the Osteoporosis Slideshow Pictures

Quick GuideOsteoporosis Pictures Slideshow: Are Your Bones at Risk?

Osteoporosis Pictures Slideshow: Are Your Bones at Risk?

What are the consequences of osteoporosis?

Osteoporotic bone fractures are responsible for considerable pain, decreased quality of life, lost workdays, and disability. Up to 30% of patients suffering a hip fracture will require long-term nursing-home care. Elderly patients can develop pneumonia and blood clots in the leg veins that can travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolism) due to prolonged bed rest after the hip fracture. Osteoporosis has even been linked with an increased risk of death. Some 20% of women with a hip fracture will die in the subsequent year as an indirect result of the fracture. In addition, once a person has experienced a spine fracture due to osteoporosis, he or she is at very high risk of suffering another such fracture in the near future (next few years). About 20% of postmenopausal women who experience a vertebral fracture will suffer a new vertebral fracture of bone in the following year.

Why is osteoporosis an important public-health issue?

  • In the U.S., 44 million people have low bone density (10 million have osteoporosis, and 34 million have osteopenia). This amounts to 55% of the U.S. population aged 50 years and older.
  • One in two Caucasian women will fracture a bone due to osteoporosis in her lifetime.
  • In the U.S., direct health-care costs from osteoporosis fractures amount to a billion dollars, without even taking into account the indirect costs, such as lost days at work and productivity.
  • Approximately 20% of those who experience a hip fracture will die in the year following the fracture.
  • One-third of hip-fracture patients are discharged to a nursing home within the year after fracture.
  • Only one-third of hip-fracture patients regain their pre-fracture level of function.

With the aging of America, the number of people with osteoporosis-related fractures will increase exponentially. The pain, suffering, and overall impact on health and economic costs will be enormous.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/11/2016

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Women's Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Osteoporosis - Symptoms

    What were your symptoms at the onset of your osteoporosis?

    Post View 28 Comments
  • Osteoporosis - Treatment

    What kinds of treatment, including medication or supplements, have you tried for your osteoporosis?

    Post View 4 Comments
  • Osteoporosis - Share Your Experience

    Do you or a relative have osteoporosis? Please share your experience.

    Post View 1 Comment
  • Osteoporosis - Risk Factors and Causes

    Do you have any risk factors for osteoporosis? What are they?

    Post View 2 Comments
  • Osteoporosis - Lifestyle Changes

    What lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, quitting smoking or alcohol) have you made to manage your osteoporosis?

    Post View 1 Comment
  • Osteoporosis - Hormone Therapy Experience

    Have you been prescribed hormone therapy to treat your osteoporosis? What was your experience?

    Post
  • Osteoporosis - Medications

    What medications have been prescribed to treat your osteoporosis?

    Post View 3 Comments
  • Osteoporosis - Complications

    Have you had any complications related to your osteoporosis? If so, what were they?

    Post View 2 Comments

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors