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Osteoporosis Awareness Month – Exposing The Bone ThiefPublished: ()

Osteoporosis — the bone thief — is a common bone disease and with the aging Canadian population, the number of people affected is expected to increase. It occurs when the loss of bone tissue is faster than normal, causing it to become weak and break (fracture) easily. Often people are not aware they have osteoporosis until they have a fracture. The most common areas for fractures include the wrist, shoulder, spine, pelvis and hip, with hip fractures being the most serious.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) works with partners and provides information about osteoporosis to help Canadians understand the importance of avoiding the bone thief and building strong bones for life. Visit the Agency’s website to learn more.

2.1 million

About 2.1 million (or 12% of) Canadians who are 40 years and older have received a diagnosis of osteoporosis. [PHAC]


Women 40 years of age and older are five times more likely than men to be diagnosed with osteoporosis. [PHAC]

150 per 100,000 annually

Each year there are about 150 hip fractures per 100,000 Canadians 40 years of age and older. [PHAC]


Almost one third (31%) of the people who have suffered a hip fracture die within the following year. Interestingly, there is a significant difference between the mortality rate of men and women. While 28% of women who have suffered a hip fracture die within the following year, 37% of men suffer the same fate. [Jiang HX et al., 2005]

< 1/2

Getting enough calcium and vitamin D through diet or supplements, as well as regular exercise are recommended for the prevention of osteoporosis. However, among Canadians 40 years of age and older, less than half reported taking both calcium and vitamin D supplements (32%) and engaging in regular physical activity (43%). [PHAC]

< 20%

Despite the high rate of fragility fractures in the Canadian population, less than 20% undergo diagnosis or receive treatment for osteoporosis. Men are less likely than women to receive an intervention. [Bessette L et al., 2008] [Leslie WD et al., 2012]

80% vs 15%

A fracture is to osteoporosis what a heart attack is to cardiovascular disease. The care gap is far greater after a fracture — about 80% receive beta blockers (that slow the heart rate and reduce blood pressure) to help prevent recurrent heart attack, compared to 15% that receive an anti-osteoporosis medication following a fragility fracture. [Austin PC et al., 2008] [Leslie WD et al., 2012]

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