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Nicholas C. Harvey

, Juliet Compston

, and Cyrus Cooper

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date: 28 July 2021

Osteoporosis is characterized by a reduction in bone mass and disruption of bone architecture, resulting in increased bone fragility and fracture risk, with fractures of the distal radius (Colles’ fracture), spine, and proximal femur being most characteristic. One in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 years will suffer an osteoporotic fracture during their remaining lifetime, with massive cost to healthcare services. Osteoporotic fractures are termed fragility fractures (defined as occurring after a fall from standing height or less). They may occur at several skeletal sites but fractures of the distal radius (Colles’ fracture), spine, and proximal femur are most characteristic. The incidence of osteoporotic fractures increases markedly with age; in women, the median age for Colles’ fractures is 65 years and for hip fracture, 80 years.

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