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Arq Bras Endocrinol Metabol. 2006 Aug;50(4):694-704.

Redefining osteoporosis treatment: Who to treat and how long to treat.

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New Mexico Clinical Research and Osteoporosis Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87106, USA.


Osteoporosis is a common disease that is associated with increased risk of fractures and serious clinical consequences. Bone mineral density (BMD) testing is used to diagnose osteoporosis, estimate the risk of fracture, and monitor changes in BMD over time. Combining clinical risk factors for fracture with BMD is a better predictor of fracture risk than BMD or clinical risk factors alone. Methodologies are being developed to use BMD and validated risk factors to estimate the 10-year probability of fracture, and then combine fracture probability with country-specific economic assumptions to determine cost-effective intervention thresholds. The decision to treat is based on factors that also include availability of therapy, patient preferences, and co-morbidities. All patients benefit from nonpharmacological lifestyle treatments such a weight-bearing exercise, adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D, fall prevention, avoidance of cigarette smoking and bone-toxic drugs, and moderation of alcohol intake. Patients at high risk for fracture should be considered for pharmacological therapy, which can reduce fracture risk by about 50%.

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