Lane JM, Russell L, Khan SN




Clin Orthop


Osteoporosis is a disorder of decreased bone mass, microarchitectural deterioration, and fragility fractures. Osteoporosis is widespread and can affect people of all ethnic backgrounds and many older women and men. An essential element in preventing osteoporosis is the achievement of normal peak bone mass. Adequate nutrition, appropriate calcium and vitamin D intake, regular menstrual cycles and a well balanced exercise program of exercise are essential elements in achieving peak bone mass. At menopause women undergo accelerated bone loss. Thereafter, women and men gradually lose bone mass. A loss of one standard deviation give rise to an enhanced twofold risk of spine fractures or a 2.5 risk of hip fracture. Bone mass is determined by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, quantitative computed tomography scan, and a peripheral ultrasound. Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry has outstanding precision (within 1% to 2%), and has the ability to show the efficacy of drug intervention. Peripheral measurements may identify osteoporosis but only have a 70% correlation with hip and spine bone mass. Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry determines bone mass in a patient but the bone collagen breakdown products (N- telopeptide crosslinks) establish the current rate of bone loss. Major risk factors leading to fragility fracture include low body weight, history of fracture, family history of osteoporosis, and smoking. All individuals should ingest adequate calcium and vitamin D, exercise, and prevent falls. Women with low bone mass, high urinary bone collagen breakdown products, and/or major risk factors should consider hormone replacement therapy or a selective estrogen receptor modulator (Evista), calcitonin and bisphosphonates (alendronate). These agents successfully increase bone mass and limit fracture risk. Men at risk for fragility fractures respond similarly as women to alendronate and calcitonin. Although vertebral compression fractures can occur spontaneously, hip fractures are attributable to low bone mass coupled with a fall. Hence, fall prevention programs in addition to medical treatment are critical in the prevention of fragility fractures.