Socioeconomic Impact

  • L. Joseph MeltonIII


  • Osteoporotic fractures exact a dreadful toll of pain, disability, and expense.

  • Because virtually the entire population is at risk for osteoporosis, inexpensive public health approaches are needed to help prevent the condition, but these are not well developed. Pharmacologic treatment of the entire population would be prohibitively expensive, so risk assessment is needed to employ costly drugs more efficiently.

  • Screening itself may be expensive, however, and efforts continue to define cost-effective approaches to the identification and treatment of individual patients at high risk for osteoporotic fractures.

Osteoporotic fractures pose an enormous public health problem, and a variety of interventions are needed to reduce their impact on society. The only rationale for patient risk assessment is to employ these interventions more efficiently. However, osteoporosis screening tests have costs, and the long-term benefits of osteoporosis treatment may be uncertain. This creates a need to consider the cost of risk assessment and the cost of treatment as well as the cost savings from any fractures that might be averted.


Osteoporotic Fracture Osteoporosis Treatment Public Health Approach National Osteoporosis Foundation Individual Risk Assessment 
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Further Reading

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© Springer-Verlag London 2004

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  • L. Joseph MeltonIII

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