Updated 20 January 2016

9 fast facts about osteoporosis

Statistics, facts and information on osteoporosis.

Do you know these 9 facts about osteoporosis?

1. More than one third of women over the age of 50 and nearly half of those over age 70 are affected by this disease. For example in Americans, 55% over the age of 50 have osteoporosis, of which 80% of these are women.

2. Osteoporosis in men is on the increase, and one in five men will develop this disease.

3. In most cases the patient is 50-70 years old, before osteoporosis is diagnosed; it can however, affect women and some men in their mid–thirties, or even earlier.

4. A woman's risk of sustaining a hip fracture is equal to the combined risk of developing breast, uterine and ovarian cancer.

5. Up to 13% of hip fracture victims die within one year; 15-25% will require institutionalisation and less than half will regain full functional capability. In octogenarians, it is estimated that mortality following a hip fracture is >80% within two years after the fracture occurred. 

6. In developed countries, spinal osteoporosis is six times more common in women than in men, and hip fractures two to three times. In developing countries, including South Africa, the incidence of hip fractures in men approximates that of women.

7. Although less common among black people, osteoporosis occurs in all population groups and recent evidence suggests that its prevalence is increasing.

8. While osteoporosis is treatable, its prevention is much more effective. This requires an understanding of predictive factors to pre-empt the likelihood of osteoporosis. An understanding of these issues will also increase knowledge about lifestyle adaptations to prevent further bone loss.

9. Recent advances in treatment options have resulted in a 50-70% reduction in the rate of osteoporotic fractures in individuals on treatment.

Read more:

What is osteoporosis?

Symptoms of osteoporosis

Treating osteoporosis

Reviewed by Dr Gareth Lorge FCP (SA), Specialist Physician in private practice, Netcare Rosebank Hospital, February 2015.

Previously reviewed by Tereza Hough, CEO, National Osteoporosis Foundation of South Africa, 2010.  


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Healthy Bones

Tereza is the CEO of the National Osteoporosis Foundation and worked as a Nursing Sister in the field of Osteoporosis for 18 years prior to her appointment with the Foundation. She used to be the Educational Officer for the Foundation and co-wrote the patient brochure on Osteoporosis. Read more

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