Osteoporosis in elderly: prevention and treatment

Clin Geriatr Med. 2002 Aug;18(3):529-55. doi: 10.1016/s0749-0690(02)00022-8.


Osteoporosis is a major clinical problem in older women and men. Almost any bone can fracture as a result of the increased bone fragility of osteoporosis. These fractures are associated with higher health care costs, physical disability, impaired quality of life, and increased mortality. Because the incidence of osteoporotic fracture increases with advancing age, measures to diagnose and prevent osteoporosis and its complications assume a major public health concern. BMD is a valuable tool to identify patients at risk for fracture, to make therapeutic decisions, and to monitor therapy. Several other modifiable and nonmodifiable risk factors for osteoporosis have also been identified. Treatment of potentially modifiable risk factors along with exercise and calcium and vitamin D supplementation forms an important adjunct to pharmacologic management of osteoporosis. Improved household safety can reduce the risk of falls. Hip protectors have been found to be effective in nursing home population. The pharmacologic options include bisphosphonates, HRT, SERMs and calcitonin. PTH had received FDA advisory committee approval. Alendronate has been approved for treatment of osteoporosis in men, and other treatments for men are under evaluation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alendronate / therapeutic use
  • Etidronic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Etidronic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / prevention & control
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Osteoporosis / drug therapy
  • Osteoporosis / physiopathology
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control
  • Osteoporosis / therapy*
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / physiopathology
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / prevention & control
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / therapy
  • Risedronic Acid
  • Spinal Fractures / prevention & control


  • Risedronic Acid
  • Etidronic Acid
  • Alendronate