Disorders of Skeletal Aging

  • Diane Meier

Abstract

Skeletal pathology is a leading cause of serious morbidity and functional loss in old age. However, it is difficult to distinguish between disease and normal age changes in the clinical approach to bone disorders, and this has lead to substantial controversy over the diagnosis and treatment of the most common metabolic bone disease, osteoporosis. For example, loss of skeletal calcium is a nearly universal concomitant of aging, independent of body size, race, or gender, but the process does not become pathologic until it is of sufficient magnitude to lead to osteoporotic fracture, with associated adverse consequences such as pain, immobility, deformity, and (in the case of hip fracture) premature death. Defining the point at which these age-related skeletal changes require intervention presents a major challenge to researchers and clinicians alike. Reasons for these difficulties include the fact that there is a long latent period of bone loss before the onset of clinically apparent disease, that current diagnostic procedures are unable to separate those at risk of fracture from those not at risk, that available treatment modalities have not been subject to randomized long-term study, and in particular, that studies of treatments for older adults are almost completely lacking. Research efforts directed at these issues have increased dramatically as a result of demographic changes leading to a large aging female population at high risk for osteoporosis and because of rapidly developing technologies in the measurement of bone mineral content.

Keywords

Bone Loss Bone Mass Vertebral Fracture Endometrial Cancer Osteoporotic Fracture 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

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  • Diane Meier

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