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Osteoporosis is a major health issue worldwide, with significant economic consequences and adverse impacts on the quality of life. Hip fractures are the most devastating complication of osteoporosis, are likely to increase exponentially with an increasingly aged population, are associated with high recurrence rate, and lead to significant morbidity and mortality. This review discusses the prevalence and impact of hip fractures, the assessment of fracture risk, fall prevention, and treatment of osteoporosis with emphasis on evidence for hip fracture reduction among the various agents currently available. The aim is to provide recommendations to optimize hip fracture prevention and treatment.
Ample evidence exists in the literature of many other risk factors independent from bone mineral density that increase fracture risk. These clinical risk factors have been validated in large cohorts and are incorporated into clinical tools that are invaluable in treatment decisions. In addition, strategies to prevent or reduce falls are integral to comprehensive osteoporosis management. Vitamin D combined with calcium has a role in primary prevention. Alendronate (Fosamax), risedronate (actonel), strontium and zoledronic acid (Zometa) have proven efficacy in primary and secondary hip fracture prevention. An aggressive approach to investigate, assess and manage an individual's fracture risk and fall risk is paramount to reduce the high morbidity and mortality associated with hip fractures. The choice of therapy should be determined by the patient's calculated fracture risk and efficacy of the potential treatment, including long term compliance associated with the agent of choice. The study is published in the February 2009 issue of the Italian medical journal Minerva Medica.