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ABSTRACT: Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mineral density and a deterioration in the microarchitecture of bone that increases its susceptibility to fracture. The World Health Organization defines osteoporosis as a bone mineral density that is 2.5 standard deviations or more below the reference mean for healthy, young white women. The prevalence of osteoporosis in black women is one half that in white and Hispanic women. In white women 50 years and older, the risk of osteoporotic fracture is nearly 40 percent over their remaining lifetime. Of the drugs that have been approved for the prevention or treatment of osteoporosis, the bisphosphonates (risedronate and alendronate) are most effective in reducing the risk of vertebral and nonvertebral fractures. Risedronate has been shown to reduce fracture risk within one year in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis and in patients with glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis. Hormone therapy reduces fracture risk, but the benefits may not outweigh the reported risks. Teriparatide, a recombinant human parathyroid hormone, reduces the risk of new fractures and is indicated for use in patients with severe osteoporosis. Raloxifene has been shown to lower the incidence of vertebral fractures in women with osteoporosis. Salmon calcitonin is reserved for use in patients who cannot tolerate bisphosphonates or hormone therapy.
Prevention of Osteoporosis and Fractures - Article
ABSTRACT: Osteoporosis and low bone density are associated with a risk of fracture as a result of even minimally traumatic events. The estimated lifetime risk of osteoporotic fracture is as high as 50 percent, especially in white and Asian women. The use of caffeine, tobacco and steroids is associated with a decrease in bone density. Cognitive impairment, vision problems and postural instability increase the risk of falling and sustaining a fracture. Medications such as long-acting sedative hypnotics, anticonvulsants and tricyclic antidepressants also increase this risk. Combinations of clinical and radiographic findings can predict fracture risk more effectively than bone densitometry, but often only after the first fracture has occurred. The addition of dietary calcium and/or vitamin D is clearly both cost-effective and significant in reducing the likelihood of fractures. Bisphosphonates reduce fracture risk but at a cost that may be prohibitive for some patients. Estrogen and estrogen-receptor modulators have not been well studied in randomized trials evaluating the reduction of fractures, but they are known to increase bone density. Pharmacologic therapy and the reduction of sensory and environmental hazards can prevent osteoporotic fractures in some patients.
ABSTRACT: Stress fractures are common injuries in athletes and military recruits. These injuries occur more commonly in lower extremities than in upper extremities. Stress fractures should be considered in patients who present with tenderness or edema after a recent increase in activity or repeated activity with limited rest. The differential diagnosis varies based on location, but commonly includes tendinopathy, compartment syndrome, and nerve or artery entrapment syndrome. Medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints) can be distinguished from tibial stress fractures by diffuse tenderness along the length of the posteromedial tibial shaft and a lack of edema. When stress fracture is suspected, plain radiography should be obtained initially and, if negative, may be repeated after two to three weeks for greater accuracy. If an urgent diagnosis is needed, triple-phase bone scintigraphy or magnetic resonance imaging should be considered. Both modalities have a similar sensitivity, but magnetic resonance imaging has greater specificity. Treatment of stress fractures consists of activity modification, including the use of nonweight-bearing crutches if needed for pain relief. Analgesics are appropriate to relieve pain, and pneumatic bracing can be used to facilitate healing. After the pain is resolved and the examination shows improvement, patients may gradually increase their level of activity. Surgical consultation may be appropriate for patients with stress fractures in high-risk locations, nonunion, or recurrent stress fractures. Prevention of stress fractures has been studied in military personnel, but more research is needed in other populations.