Direct medical costs from fragility fractures to the UK healthcare economy were estimated at £1.8 billion in 2000, with the potential to increase to £2.2 billion by 2025. It is therefore important for primary care clinicians to be aware of osteoporosis and the importance of prevention of fragility fractures.
The role of vitamin D in the management of osteoporosis came under the spotlight recently after a study reviewed the results of 81 research trials of people aged 18 or over taking vitamin D supplements. It found no reduction in fractures or falls and no improvement in bone density in people taking the supplements and recommeded guidelines were adapted.
Over the years male osteoporosis has received little attention. One in eight men older than 50 years will have a fragility fracture during their lifetime, which will contribute to dependency, morbidity and a higher mortality in the first year.1 Although the rate of bone loss in men is slower,2 the mortality risk is twice after a hip fracture when compared to women.3
Osteoporosis is characterised by low bone mineral density and micro-architectural deterioration of bone leading to an increased risk of low-trauma fractures, associated morbidity and mortality. This article describes the advances in imaging of osteoporosis including opportunistic identification of low bone density and vertebral fractures.