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Osteoporosis

A major public health threat for millions of Americans

An underdiagnosed and undertreated disease

Your bones are constantly changing, with some bone cells dissolving and new ones forming, such that you grow a completely new skeleton approximately once every 10 years.

Osteoporosis occurs when your body no longer creates new bone as quickly as it removes old bone, resulting in weak and brittle bones that are abnormally porous and compressible. As bones weaken and become more brittle, a fall or even something mild like coughing can cause the bones to break – most typically in the hip, wrist or spine. As many as 54 million American adults age 50 and older are affected by osteoporosis and low bone mass, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

Causes

You can lose bone mass from a variety of causes, including lack of calcium and/or vitamin D in the diet, anorexia/starvation, lack of menstruation in younger women due to excessive exercise, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, corticosteroid medications, lack of weight bearing exercise, thyroid hormone imbalance and low testosterone in men. However, the most common cause is low estrogen levels in women either because they are post-menopausal or have had both ovaries surgically removed (which causes the body to go into menopause).

Men and women of all races can get osteoporosis, but white and Asian women, particularly post-menopausal women, have the highest risk. Other high risk groups include petite, thin women and men (because they have less bone to lose than people with heavier frames), and those with a family history of the disease – particularly a parent who has had an osteoporosis-related fracture.

 

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

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Drug shows promising signs for postmenopausal women with osteoporosis

Jul 20/GHLF Staff
Postmenopausal women with osteoporosis who took romosozumab for a year experienced “rapid and large reductions" in risk of fracturing vertebrae.
READ MORE
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Doctors may over-test for and over-treat low Vitamin D

Jul 06/GHLF Staff
Though vitamin D helps protect older adults from osteoporosis, doctors may be over-testing for vitamin deficiency.
READ MORE
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Study Finds Association Between RF and Lower Bone Density

Nov 20/GHLF Staff
The presence of the antibody rheumatoid factor (RF) in seemingly healthy men could have a negative effect on their bone density.
READ MORE
The Data
Osteoporosis Incidence by Age

Osteoporosis can occur in both men and women and at any age, but it is most common in older women.

 

VIDEOS

Learn more about osteoporosis.

ARTICLES & PRESS RELEASES

Jul 20

Drug shows promising signs for postmenopausal women with osteoporosis

/ Osteoporosis

Postmenopausal women with osteoporosis who took romosozumab for a year experienced “rapid and large reductions” in risk of fracturing vertebrae.

⇀ READ MORE
Jul 06

Doctors may over-test for and over-treat low Vitamin D

/ Osteoporosis

Though vitamin D helps protect older adults from osteoporosis, doctors may be over-testing for vitamin deficiency.

⇀ READ MORE
Nov 20

Study Finds Association Between RF and Lower Bone Density

/ Osteoporosis

The presence of the antibody rheumatoid factor (RF) in seemingly healthy men could have a negative effect on their bone density.

⇀ READ MORE
Aug 20

Short time between pregnancies linked to osteoporosis

/ Osteoporosis

Women who have pregnancies less than a year apart may have a greater risk for osteoporosis.

⇀ READ MORE
Mar 01

Men Are New Target for Osteoporosis Treatment

/ Osteoporosis

Bone-health experts are making a new push to reduce rates of osteoporosis, with a particular focus on treating men.

⇀ READ MORE