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Women's Health USA 2013 An illustrated collection of current and historical data, published annually.

Osteoporosis

Narrative

Osteoporosis is a bone weakness characterized by low bone density with symptoms that generally occur only after the disease is advanced.1 Bone fractures are the most common consequence; others include loss of height, stooped posture, and back and neck pain from spinal fractures. Risk of osteoporosis is much higher among women than men and increases with age. In 2007–2010, an estimated 10 million women (9.0 percent) and 1.3 million men (1.3 percent) reported having been diagnosed with osteoporosis (data not shown). More than one in four women aged 65 and older reported having been diagnosed with osteoporosis (27.4 percent). Non- Hispanic White and Mexican American women aged 65 and older were more likely to have been diagnosed with osteoporosis than non-Hispanic Black women of the same age (29.0 and 27.3 percent versus 12.9 percent, respectively). Asian women have also been shown to be at higher risk of osteoporosis.2

Getting the recommended amounts of calcium, vitamin D, and regular weight-bearing physical activity (such as walking), are critical in building peak bone mass in adolescence, maintaining bone health in adulthood, and slowing bone loss at older ages.3,4 To promote early diagnosis of osteoporosis and the prevention of complications, bone density tests are recommended for all women aged 65 and older and younger women who have a risk factor, including low weight, parental history of hip fracture, smoking, and daily alcohol use.5

Bone fractures among the elderly most commonly occur among those with osteoporosis and can have devastating consequences. For example, 1 in every 5 hip fracture patients dies within a year of their injury.6 Falls are a common direct cause of osteoporosis-related fracture and are the leading cause of injury—both fatal and nonfatal—among adults aged 65 and older. In 2011, there were 2.4 million unintentional nonfatal fall injuries treated in emergency departments among adults aged 65 and older (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site). The rate of nonfatal fall injury was higher among women than men and increased with age. Among both women and men, the rate of nonfatal fall injury was about five times higher among those aged 85 and older than those aged 65–69. Fall prevention efforts can include muscle strengthening, home hazard assessments and modifications, and avoiding sedative medications that may impair balance and coordination.7

1 Mayo Clinic link leaves hrsa.gov site. Osteoporosis. June 2013. Accessed 06/23/13.

2 Mayo Clinic link leaves hrsa.gov site. Osteoporosis. June 2013. Accessed 06/23/13.

3 Mayo Clinic link leaves hrsa.gov site. Osteoporosis. June 2013. Accessed 06/23/13.

4 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services link leaves hrsa.gov site. Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: Office of the Surgeon General; 2004.

5 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force link leaves hrsa.gov site. Screening for Osteoporosis. Accessed 06/23/13.

6 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services link leaves hrsa.gov site. Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: Office of the Surgeon General; 2004.

7 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services link leaves hrsa.gov site. Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: Office of the Surgeon General; 2004.

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Graphs

Data

Diagnosed Osteoporosis* Among Women Aged 65 and Older, by Race/Ethnicity,** 2007–2010

Percent of Women:

  • Non-Hispanic White 29.0
  • Non-Hispanic Black 12.9
  • Mexican American 27.3
  • Total 27.4

*Reported a health professional had ever told them they had osteoporosis.

**The sample of American Indian/Alaska Natives, Asians, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islanders, and persons of multiple race was too small to produce reliable results.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2007-2010. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology and Statistics Program.

Nonfatal Unintentional Injury Due to Falls* per 100,000 Adults Aged 65 and Older, by Age and Sex, 2011
Age Group Rate per 100,000 Adults, Female Rate per 100,000 Adults, Male
*Treated in hospital emergency departments.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System link leaves hrsa.gov site (WISQARS). Accessed 07/07/13.
65-69 Years 3,468 2,207
70-74 Years 4,564 2,917
75-79 Years 6,238 3,908
80-84 Years 9,257 6,432
85 Years and Older 15,322 11,790