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What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is an age-related skeletal disease, characterized by a low bone mass and deterioration of bone micro structure, leading to an increased risk of fragility fractures at the hip, spine and forearm. Osteoporotic fractures are associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality, as well as a large burden on society in terms of economic costs. Due to our ageing population, the worldwide incidence of fragility fracture is projected to increase considerably.

Diagnosis

Osteoporosis is currently diagnosed using Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA), a medical imaging technique resulting in a radiographic image of the projected Bone Mineral Density (BMD). This modality measures the patients’ BMD at the proximal femur, lumbar vertebrae or forearm, which is subsequently compared with the density of a reference population. The difference in BMD is expressed in standard deviations, which is a measure of the difference between the measured and the expected value in terms of the natural spread of BMD values in the reference population.

Fracture risk assessment

Although a low BMD is a good indication of an increased risk of fracture, this alone is not sufficient to pick up the majority of subjects who go on to fracture. This is because other factors such as the shape of the bone or the spatial distribution of the bone mass are also believed to be important parameters in determining the strength of the bone. 3D-DXA aims to overcome these limitations by generating 3D tomographic reconstructions from standard clinical DXA images. This allows for accurate three-dimensional measurements to be taken of the bone structures, while maintaining DXA as the standard low radiation dose modality.

Statistics

Women over 50 with osteoporosis: 20%
The combined lifetime risk for hip, forearm and vertebral fractures: 40%
Mortality rate one year after hip fracture: 20%
Risk reduction after treatment: 40%

Donate

Please consider donating to one of the charitable organisations to promote further research on osteoporosis.

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