World Osteoporosis Day is observed annually on 20 October. It was launched on 20 October 1996 by the United Kingdom’s National Osteoporosis Society and supported by the European Commission. Since 1997, the day has been organised by the International Osteoporosis Foundation and involves campaigns by national osteoporosis patient societies from around the world with activities in over 90 countries. In 1998 and 1999, the World Health Organization acted as co-sponsor of World Osteoporosis Day. The day also marks the launch of a year-long campaign to raise awareness of osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease. Since 1999 these campaigns have featured a specific theme.
Osteoporosis (“porous bones”, from Greek: οστούν/ostoun meaning “bone” and πόρος/poros meaning “pore”) is a progressive bone disease that is characterized by a decrease in bone mass and density which can lead to an increased risk of fracture. In osteoporosis, the bone mineral density (BMD) is reduced, bone microarchitecture deteriorates, and the amount and variety of proteins in bone are altered. Osteoporosis is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a bone mineral density of 2.5 standard deviations or more below the mean peak bone mass (average of young, healthy adults) as measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry; the term “established osteoporosis” includes the presence of a fragility fracture. The disease may be classified as primary type 1, primary type 2, or secondary.
The form of osteoporosis most common in women after menopause is referred to as primary type 1 or postmenopausal osteoporosis. Primary type 2 osteoporosis or senile osteoporosis occurs after age 75 and is seen in both females and males at a ratio of 2:1. Secondary osteoporosis may arise at any age and affect men and women equally. This form results from chronic predisposing medical problems or disease, or prolonged use of medications such as glucocorticoids, when the disease is called steroid- or glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis.
The risk of osteoporosis fractures can be reduced with lifestyle changes and in those with previous osteoporosis related fractures, medications. Lifestyle change includes diet, exercise, and preventing falls. The utility of calcium and vitamin D is questionable in most. Bisphosphonates are useful in those with previous fractures from osteoporosis but are of minimal benefit in those who have osteoporosis but no previous fractures. Osteoporosis is a component of the frailty syndrome.