Send to

Choose Destination
Maturitas. 1996 Mar;23(2):193-207.

Osteoporotic fractures: background and prevention strategies.

Author information

University of Melbourne, Department of Medicine, Royal Melbourne Hospital Victoria, Australia.



To review current knowledge of the epidemiology, pathogenesis, prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, with particular reference to issues related to the menopause.


Peer-reviewed publications were assessed.


Much international variation exists in the prevalence of osteoporosis and the incidence of fracture. Risk fractures for osteoporosis are numerous. The menopause and other causes of hypogonadism in both women and men strongly predispose to osteoporosis. Various endocrinopathies, especially glucocorticoid excess, also are important. The contribution of family history may be explained by one or more genetic markers. Poor vitamin D and calcium nutrition, smoking, high alcohol consumption and inactivity increase risk. Reduced bone mass is a major risk factor for fracture, although the magnitude of that risk may vary between populations. In addition, bone fragility, length of the femoral neck (for hip fracture), history of prior fracture (for vertebral fracture) and falls affect fracture risk. Useful methods for measuring bone density are available for both epidemiologic surveillance and for clinical practice. Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry is the most desirable method in clinical care settings. Some risk factors can be modified for prevention of osteoporosis. Postmenopausal bone loss can be inhibited with estrogen or estrogen plus progestin therapy. Bone loss in the elderly may be moderated with calcium and vitamin D supplementation. Maintenance of muscle tone and strength through exercise may reduce falls. CONCLUSIONS. Osteoporosis is a large and growing health problem in many countries. Prevention of osteoporosis is a high priority, especially because treatment of the established disease remains sub-optimal. Prevention requires immediate, intermediate-term and long-term strategies. First line therapy for established osteoporosis in women in many countries is estrogen or estrogen plus progestin, calcium and vitamin D. Prospects for improved prevention of osteoporotic fractures are encouraging.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center