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  • image Osteoporosis is a public health epidemic that affects all ages, genders, races, and ethnicities. Lifestyle behaviors, diseases, and medications should be reviewed to identify risk factors for developing osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures. Healthcare practitioners should identify and resolve reversible risks. Patients with early onset or severe osteoporosis should be evaluated for secondary causes of bone loss.
  • image Bone physiology and pathophysiology are complex, involving many different cell lines, pathways, and biofeedback systems. As these processes become more delineated, opportunities for additional drug targets exist creating new classes of investigational agents.
  • image An adult’s 10-year probability of developing an osteoporotic fracture can be estimated with the World Health Organization fracture risk assessment (FRAX) tool. Central bone densitometry can determine bone mass, predict fracture risk, and influence patient and provider treatment decisions. Portable equipment can be used for osteoporosis screening in the community to determine the need for further testing.
  • image All people throughout their life spans should incorporate a bone-healthy lifestyle, which emphasizes regular exercise, nutritious diet, tobacco avoidance, minimal alcohol use, and fall prevention to prevent and treat osteoporosis.
  • image Treatment should be considered for men or women older than age 50 years who have a hip or vertebral fracture, T-score ≤ –2.5 at the femoral neck or spine or those who have low bone mass (T-score between –1.0 and –2.5) at the femoral neck or spine and a 10-year probability of major osteoporotic fracture of ≥20% or hip fracture of ≥3% based on FRAX.
  • image The recommended dietary allowance for calcium in American adults is 1,000 to 1,200 mg of elemental calcium daily with diet as the preferred source. Supplements are only added when diet is insufficient.
  • image The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D for American adults is 600 units and for older adults 800 units daily, with some organizations and guidelines recommending higher doses of at least 800 to 1000 units daily. The daily target is achieved through sun exposure, fortified foods, and supplements. Vitamin D insufficiency, usually defined as 25-hydroxy vitamin D concentrations of <30 ng/mL (<75 nmol/L), is common in Americans.
  • imageAlendronate, risedronate, zoledronic acid, and denosumab decrease vertebral, hip, and nonvertebral fractures and are considered first-line osteoporosis treatments. Ibandronate and raloxifene are alternatives, and calcitonin is a last-line agent. Teriparatide is reserved for severe osteoporosis or for those intolerant to other medications.
  • image Adherence with osteoporosis medications is frequently suboptimal, and poor adherence is associated with less fracture prevention. Healthcare providers have an important role in prevention and treatment of osteoporosis by assessing medication administration and adherence and by providing additional medication and disease education.
  • image Patients taking long-term oral glucocorticoids and certain chemotherapeutic agents need to be identified and started on a bone-healthy lifestyle and usually should receive a bisphosphonate, denosumab, or teriparatide therapy to prevent or treat drug-induced osteoporosis.

On completion of the chapter, the reader will be able to:

  1. Discuss public health concerns related to low bone mass, osteoporosis, and osteoporotic fracture.

  2. Explain the major steps in bone remodeling process and osteoporosis pathophysiology.

  3. Determine the effect of calcium, ...

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