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What is the toll of osteoporosis in the United States?

Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine

Osteoporosis means "porous bone." It involves both the mineral (inorganic) components of bone and the nonmineral components (organic matrix, composed primarily of protein). Bone is dynamic living tissue that is continually being broken down and rebuilt, even in adults. Osteoporosis occurs when more bone is breaking down than is being formed.

Osteoporosis currently affects between 13 percent and 30 percent of all postmenopausal women in the United States, depending on what criteria you use to define it. The most serious consequence of osteoporosis is fractures. It is estimated that osteoporosis causes approximately 1.5 million fractures every year. Of these, 250,000 are fractures of the hip. Despite the considerable advances in medical care, as many as 20 percent of women with hip fractures die within a year of the fracture, and 25 percent require long-term nursing care. Approximately half the women who suffer from a hip fracture are unable to walk without assistance. Obviously, one important goal in dealing with osteoporosis is to avoid hip fractures.

What the Drug Companies Won't Tell You and Your Doctor Doesn't Know: The Alternative Treatments That May Change Your Life--and the Prescriptions That Could Harm You

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.