• Vol. 31 No. 1, 71–75
  • 15 January 2002

Clinical Update on Osteoporosis


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Osteoporosis and fractures are an increasing problem in many countries. Continued research into the genetics and molecular pathophysiology of osteoporosis improve our understanding of this disease, and may provide insights into novel strategies or therapeutics which might be developed. Increased awareness of the epidemiology of osteoporosis, risk factors, and the availability of methods to quantify skeletal integrity such as bone densitometry, allow the condition to be anticipated and diagnosed before fractures occur, and facilitate measured decisions about further evaluation and appropriate management. As with most chronic diseases, healthy lifestyle measures are recommended. In addition, pharmaceutical options which have been shown to be effective in reducing fracture rates among those with or without fractures are increasingly available. The decision to institute therapy and choice of drug should ideally be rational and individualised.

Fractures, the most serious complication of osteoporosis, are increasing and constitute an evolving public health problem in terms of disability, mortality and cost. A paradigm shift in the management of osteoporosis has resulted from the development of techniques which can diagnose osteoporosis before fractures occur, and effective medications which reduce the risk of first and recurrent fractures.

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