Osteoporosis is characterized by decreased bone mineral density (BMD) and deterioration of the bone microarchitecture, a combination of factors that lead to an increased risk of fracture. Osteoporosis affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, in developed and undeveloped nations. The prevalence of osteoporosis is projected to increase considerably as the global population ages and life expectancy increases as anticipated. The Office of the Surgeon General in the U.S. warns that osteoporosis may become an epidemic if people do not make the adjustments in nutrition, supplementation, and physical activity necessary to prevent osteoporosis.
The overall cost of osteoporosis fractures and their complications poses a considerable burden for healthcare systems around the world; osteoporosis costs are comparable with those of other major chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and asthma. In addition, osteoporosis fractures are a major cause of disability and morbidity among older people; an estimated fifth of patients who experience an osteoporotic hip fracture die due to complications within 1 year after the fracture. Drug therapies that are capable of addressing osteoporosis and reducing the risk of fractures could bring economic benefits to governments and healthcare providers and improve the quality of life for osteoporosis patients.