Osteoporosis Fact Sheet

General Features of Disease

  • Also called porous bone disease or brittle bone disease
  • Characterized by reduced bone density and strength
  • Associated with increased risk of fractures
  • Bones most susceptible to breaking are:
    • Spinal vertebrae
    • Hip
    • Wrists
    • Ribs
  • Initial symptom is often mid- to lower back pain
  • Causes decrease in height of up to 15 cm, and curvature of the spine (kyphosis) resulting in "dowager's hump"


  • More prevalent in women than men, but affects both sexes

  • Osteoporosis is a major and costly public health issue. Prevalence and cost are expected to increase as population ages

  • Persons of white or Asian descent are most likely to be affected

  • More prevalent among older persons, but can strike at any age


  • Hip fractures are associated with increased risk of mortality: 25% of sufferers die within one year of breaking their hips

  • Only half of those breaking a hip return to pre-injury functional status

  • In 1990, 25 000 Canadians suffered hip fractures; the cost of acute and long-term rehabilitative care was estimated to be $400 million


  • Bone mineral density measurement is typically required for making the diagnosis and is generally performed by:

Quick links

Bone and tooth society


Arthritis Society


Osteoporosis Canada


Whoever you are we work to improve your bone health