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How Common Is Osteoporosis?

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Osteoporosis is a major public health problem that threatens over 40 million people in the United States.1

  • After a person reaches his or her peak bone-building years, around age 30, the bones slowly begin to thin. This process accelerates after age 45 or 55. Osteoporosis usually does not have a noticeable effect on people until they are 60 or older.
  • Women generally have less bone mass than men and lose bone mass sooner and faster than men.
  • Women are far more likely to have osteoporosis than men.2
  • Women of European and Asian ancestry are more likely to have osteoporosis than those of African ancestry.
  • About 1 out of 2 women and 1 out of 4 men older than 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.1
  • Most hip fractures in older women are related to osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is rare in children and teens. Osteoporosis that occurs in children and teens usually is caused by other medical conditions or by taking certain medicines known to cause osteoporosis.

Recommended Related to Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis Myth: Osteoporosis Doesn't Cause Any Emotional Problems

Reality: The emotional toll of osteoporosis is very real. Having a fracture, or even seeing yourself as more "fragile" than you once thought you were, can lead to a negative body image, poor self-esteem, and a sense of limitations in activity and mobility. Kyphosis, the "dowager's hump" that results from vertebral fractures, has been associated with significant depression in people with osteoporosis. After one fracture, many people with osteoporosis are so fearful that they may fall and injure themselves...

Read the Osteoporosis Myth: Osteoporosis Doesn't Cause Any Emotional Problems article > >

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 10, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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