Osteoporosis Basics Copy

In Your Manual

Basics: Page 140-142 | Clinical: Page 156-158

  • Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become thin and porous, decreasing bone strength and leading to increased risk of breaking a bone
  • No single cause for osteoporosis has been identified
  • Osteoporosis is often called the 'silent thief' because bone loss occurs without symptoms
  • Osteoporosis can result in disfigurement, lowered self-esteem, reduction or loss of mobility, and decreased independence
  • Building strong bones during childhood and adolescence can be the best defence against developing osteoporosis later.
  • Peak bone mass is achieved at an early age, age 16 in girls and age 20 in young men.
  • Women and men alike begin to lose bone in their mid-30s; as they approach menopause, women lose bone at a greater rate, from 2-5% per year.

Learn more at Osteoporosis Canada


Financial Costs

In 2014, the total economic burden of
osteoporosis was estimated at $4.6 billion.
Direct health care costs, including acute care, physician services, prescription drugs, rehabilitation, complex continuing care, home care, long-term care and mobility devices, were approximately $4.3 billion; while, indirect costs due to productivity losses were close to $305 million (PHAC, 2020).

Financial Costs

  • Osteoporosis causes 70-90% of 30,000 hip fractures annually

  • Each hip fracture costs the system $21,285 in the 1st year after hospitalization, and $44,156 if the patient is institutionalized

  • A study recently reported that only 44% of people discharged from hospital for a hip fracture return home; of the rest, 10% go to another hospital, 27% go to rehabilitation care, and 17% go to long-term care facilities. 

Human Costs

Physical effects can include chronic pain, reduced mobility, loss of height, disability and premature death. Furthermore, psychological consequences often ensue.
One of the most commonly reported is anxiety due to fear of future fractures, consequent impairment and worries about falling. Depression, another common emotional reaction among individuals
living with a chronic illness, is also associated with osteoporosis.

Human Costs

  • About 25% of those with a hip fracture die of any cause within the following year
  • Men were 1.3x more likely to die of any cause within a year of a hip fracture compared to women (PHAC, 2020)
  • WOMEN were 2x more likely to fracture their hip compared to men (PHAC, 2020)
  • In 2015–2016, there were 147 hip fractures per 100,000 Canadians 40 years and older (PHAC, 2020)

Additional Costs

The statistics related to hip fractures are particularly disturbing.

Additional Costs

  • The lifetime risk of hip fracture is greater (1 in 6) than the 1 in 9 lifetime risk of developing breast cancer (Franke et al., 2006)

  • Approx 25,000 hip fractures in Canada in 1993

  • 80% of hip fractures are osteoporosis-related

  • 23% of patients who fracture a hip die in less than a year

  • Hip fractures result in death in up to 20% of patients

  • Hip fractures result in disability in 50% of those who survive

In Summary:

The Public Health Agency of Canada recently released a report on Osteoporosis and related fractures. Learn more here.


Frankel, J. E., Bean, J. F., & Frontera, W. R. (2006). Exercise in the elderly: research and clinical practice. Clin Geriatr Med, 22(2), 239-256; vii.

Johnell, O., Oden, A., Caulin, F., Kanis, J.A. (2001). Acute and long-term increase in fracture risk after hospitalization for vertebral fracture. Osteoporos Int, 12(3):207-14.

Melton, L.J. III, Chrischilles, E.A., Cooper, C., Lane, A.W., Riggs, B.L. (1992). Perspective: how many women have osteoporosis? J Bone Miner Res, 7:1005-10.

PHAC (Public Health Agency of Canada). (2020). Osteoporosis and related fractures in canada. https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/phac-aspc/documents/services/publications/diseases-conditions/osteoporosis-related-fractures-2020/osteoporosis-related-fractures-2020.pdf