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54 Million Americans Affected by Osteoporosis and Low Bone Mass


Targeted News Service

06-03-14

WASHINGTON, June 2 -- The National Osteoporosis Foundation issued the following news release:

The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) today released updated prevalence data estimating that a total of 54 million U.S. adults age 50 and older are affected by osteoporosis and low bone mass. Recently published online by the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, the study, "The Recent Prevalence of Osteoporosis and Low Bone Mass in the United States Based on Bone Mineral Density at the Femoral Neck or Lumbar Spine," includes the number of adults age 50 and over from the institutionalized and non-institutionalized population affected by osteoporosis and low bone mass and is an update to the prevalence data NOF released in 2013. Revealing that 10.2 million adults have osteoporosis and another 43.4 million have low bone mass, more than one-half of the total U.S. adult population is currently affected.

"This represents the most comprehensive and up to date information available describing the total number of U.S. adults with osteoporosis and low bone mass," said Robert F. Gagel, M.D., president of the National Osteoporosis Foundation. "With 43 million adults at-risk for osteoporosis, it's more important than ever to apply preventive measures early in life to protect those with low bone mass from developing osteoporosis."

Assuming osteoporosis and low bone mass prevalence remain unchanged, the study projects that by 2020, the number of adults over age 50 with osteoporosis or low bone mass will grow from approximately 54 million to 64.4 million and by 2030, the number will increase to 71.2 million (a 29% increase from 2010); and it is anticipated that the number of fractures will grow proportionally.

"This disease causes an estimated two million broken bones each year and often results in immobility, pain, placement in a nursing home, isolation and other health problems, said Amy Porter, executive director and CEO of NOF. "Medicare (our tax dollars) pays for the cost for repair of 80 percent of broken bones that occur because of osteoporosis; these costs make osteoporosis the 10th ranked major illness among the top 5% highest cost Medicare beneficiaries (12% of all beneficiaries and 18% of high costs beneficiaries). We have to continue our efforts to eradicate this disease."

The data is one of the first to look at the burden of osteoporosis using NOF's criteria for diagnosing osteoporosis based on bone mineral density (BMD) at the hip or spine. Prior to 2005, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) only measured BMD at the hip. Spine BMD was added in 2005, providing the opportunity to estimate the burden of osteoporosis using BMD at either the hip or spine. The study estimates that among adults age 50 years and older, 10.2 million have osteoporosis at the femoral neck or lumbar spine and an additional 43.4 million have low bone mass at either skeletal site, placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis and broken bones.

The study applied prevalence estimates of osteoporosis and low bone mass from representative national data collected in NHANES to US Census population data to estimate the recent and future number of older individuals with osteoporosis and low bone mass. The study found that more women than men had both osteoporosis and low bone mass. An estimated 8.2 million women and 2.0 million men had osteoporosis and an additional 27.3 million women and 16.1 million men had low bone mass.

While most of the individuals with osteoporosis or low bone mass are non-Hispanic white women, a substantial number of men and women from other racial/ethnic groups also have osteoporosis and low bone mass. The study estimates that 7.7 million non-Hispanic White, 0.5 million non-Hispanic Black, and 0.6 million Mexican American adults have osteoporosis and another 33.8, 2.9, and 2.0 million have low bone mass, respectively.

The available information from NHANES did not allow an estimate of the prevalence of osteoporosis in Asian or Hispanic populations other than Mexican Americans. Also, the study estimates for Mexican Americans may not apply to other Hispanic groups.

The study also includes data showing state-specific prevalence of osteoporosis and low bone mass. Please see the NOF Prevalence Map (http://nof.org/files/nof/public/content/file/2833/upload/923.pdf) for a full breakdown of the data by state.

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