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  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: August 2009

14 - Diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis

from Part III - Disease prevention


Osteoporosis is a major public health problem, affecting more than 40 million people, one-third of postmenopausal women, and a substantial portion of the elderly in the USA, Europe, and Japan. The risk factors for osteoporosis such as sedentary lifestyle and/or immobility, low bodyweight, cigarette smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption all influence bone mass negatively. The history and physical examination are important in screening for secondary forms of osteoporosis and directing the evaluation, although they are neither sensitive enough nor sufficient for diagnosing primary osteoporosis. The most widely used techniques of assessing bone mineral density are dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) and quantitative computerized tomography (CT). Treatment for osteoporosis is instituted to prevent early or continuing bone loss, with the belief that there can be an immediate impact on the patient's wellbeing and a willingness to comply with the patient's desires.
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