Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, which leads to greater fragility and an increase in fracture risk. All bones become more fragile and susceptible to fracture as the disease progresses. People tend to be unaware that their bones are getting weaker, and a person with osteoporosis can fracture a bone from even a minor fall. The debilitating effects of osteoporosis have substantial costs. Loss of mobility, admission to nursing homes and dependence on caregivers are all common consequences of osteoporosis. The prevalence of osteoporosis is growing and, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, or the NOF, is significantly under-recognized and under-treated in the population. While the aging of the population is a primary driver of an increase in cases, osteoporosis is also increasing from the use of drugs that induce bone loss, such as chronic use of glucocorticoids and aromatase inhibitors that are increasingly used for breast cancer and the hormone therapies used for prostate cancer.
The NOF has estimated that 10 million people in the United States, composed of eight million women and two million men, already have osteoporosis, and another approximately 43 million have low bone mass placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis. In addition, the NOF has estimated that osteoporosis is responsible for more than two million fractures in the United States each year resulting in an estimated $19 billion in costs annually. The NOF expects that the number of fractures in the United States due to osteoporosis will rise to three million by 2025, resulting in an estimated $25.3 billion in costs each year. Worldwide, osteoporosis affects an estimated 200 million women according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, or IOF, and causes more than 8.9 million fractures annually, which is equivalent to an osteoporotic fracture occurring approximately every three seconds. The IOF has estimated that 1.6 million hip fractures occur worldwide each year, and by 2050 this number could reach between 4.5 million and 6.3 million. The IOF estimates that in Europe alone, the annual cost of osteoporotic fractures could surpass €76 billion by 2050.