, Volume 37, Issue 12, pp 1063-1067
Date: 08 Sep 2008

Elevated bone mass: a weighty matter?

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Osteoporosis is recognized to be a major public health problem with a significant population burden related to fracture morbidity, excess mortality, and health care expenses. Moreover, the case-fatality rate for hip fractures can exceed 20% [1, 2], and other osteoporosis related fractures can lead to significant long-term disability and decreased quality of life [3, 4]. Up to 16% of women and 7% of men over the age of 50 are affected [5]. The number of fracture sufferers worldwide in 2000 was estimated at 56 million, with approximately 9 million new osteoporotic fractures occurring each year [6], and this is projected to increase markedly over the next few decades as the number of elderly individuals increases [7].

The two key features of osteoporosis are a reduction in skeletal strength [largely determined by bone mineral density (BMD)] and a consequent increase in risk for spontaneous and minimal trauma (fragility) fractures [8, 9]. In the absence of a fracture history, os ...