Diagnostics, Therapeutics, and Health Informatics in Osteoporosis
Sarah H. Gueldner (Decker School of Nursing, USA), Guruprasad Madhavan (Clinical Science and Engineering Research Center, USA), Eric D. Newman (Geisinger Health System, USA) and Carolyn S. Pierce (Decker School of Nursing, USA)
Copyright: © 2008
Osteoporosis, usually silent until a fracture occurs, is among the most common health problems facing elders worldwide. By definition, osteoporosis is a “systemic” skeletal disease characterized by a low bone mass and a micro architectural deterioration of bone tissue, with a consequent increase in bone fragility and susceptibility to fracture (“The Burden of Musculoskeletal Conditions,” 2003). The incidence of osteoporotic hip fracture increases exponentially with age, and the increase in older persons globally could dramatically increase the number of hip fractures, posing a devastating increase in disability and cost for elders worldwide. Therefore, it is imperative that diagnostic and treatment measures be developed and instituted worldwide to support preventative measures for osteoporosis and consequential fractures. Toward that purpose, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared 2002–2011as the Decade of the Bone and Joint, uniting nations throughout the world in the commitment of energy and resources to accelerate progress in bone health and prevention of fractures. Keeping in mind this global context, this discussion includes information about the prevalence and impact of osteoporosis, its signature pathology (including bone remodeling), factors which place individuals at risk for developing osteoporosis, and the role of diagnostics, therapeutics, and informatics in the realm of osteoporosis. Encouraging information is also provided about recent innovative technological developments that may enhance our ability to detect and treat osteoporosis earlier, in time to reduce and better manage its unwelcome sequelae.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Osteoporosis: A disease of the bone leading to an increased risk of fracture.
DXA: Dual x-ray absorptiometry.
Inner Trabecular Tissue: Spongy tissue of bone.
Hip Fracture: Broken hip.
HUS: Heel ultrasound.
WHO: World Health Organization.