World Osteoporosis Day – Bone & Joint Action Week

World Osteoporosis Day – October 20

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Osteoporosis literally means “porous bone.” It is a disease in which bone density and quality are reduced, causing bones to become more porous and fragile. This weakening of the bone increases the risk of fractures, yet the loss of bone occurs silently and progressively. Often there are no symptoms of osteoporosis until the first fracture occurs. Osteoporosis is responsible for 8.9 million fractures annually, or about one fracture every three seconds. Additional statistics include:

  • Osteoporosis is estimated to affect 200 million women worldwide
  • Worldwide, 1 in 3 women over age 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures, as will 1 in 5 men aged over 50
  • Overall, 61% of osteoporotic fractures occur in women, with a female-to-male ratio of 1.6
  • Nearly 75% of hip, spine and distal forearm fractures occur among patients 65 years old or over
  • A 10% loss of bone mass in the vertebrae can double the risk of vertebral fractures; similarly, a 10% loss of bone mass in the hip can result in a 2.5 times greater risk of hip fracture
  • By 2050, the worldwide incidence of hip fracture is projected to increase by 310% in men and 240% in women, compared to rates in 1990
  • A prior fracture is associated with an 86% increased risk of any fracture
  • In women over 45, osteoporosis accounts for more days spent in hospital than many other diseases, including diabetes, myocardial infarction and breast cancer
  • The great majority of individuals at high risk (possibly 80%), who have already had at least one osteoporotic fracture, are neither identified nor treated


The United States Bone and Joint Initiative offers “Fit to a T,” a public education program on bone health and osteoporosis designed to help Americans learn more about bone health, as well as the prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis. The name is based on the T-score, which is the measure of a person’s bone density and susceptibility to fracture. Visit for details.


Content revised from the International Osteoporosis Foundation
( and from Bone and Joint Initiative USA (



Bone and Joint Action Week is an annual event focused on issues including arthritis, back pain, pediatric conditions, osteoporosis and trauma. The week is designed to raise awareness worldwide about prevention, disease management and treatment of these disorders, and it’s a big undertaking. Consider that:

  • According to The Burden of Musculoskeletal Conditions in the United States, more than half the American population over the age of 18 – that’s 54% – are affected by musculoskeletal (bone and joint) conditions
  • Bone and joint conditions are the most common cause of severe long-term pain andphysical disability worldwide, affecting hundreds of millions of people
  • Unless new treatments and preventive measures are found, the global prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions is predicted to increase greatlydue to increasing life expectancy and changes in risk factors.
  • Musculoskeletal conditions can lead to significant disability plus diminished productivity and quality of life.
  • Treatment and lost wage costs associated with musculoskeletal diseases in the U.S. alone was estimated at $874 billionin 2009 to 2011