Management of patients with vertebral compression fractures.
Osteoporosis is a disease of low bone mass that may not manifest until a patient has a fracture. Hip fracture is the most devastating, but vertebral fracture is the most common, occurring in 25% of women over 50 years of age and 40% of those age 80-85 years. Although 60% of vertebral fractures are clinically silent, they are easily diagnosed radiographically. They are associated with height loss, deformity, impaired mobility, and pain. Patients should be evaluated for the cause of both the fracture and osteoporosis. Therapy includes education about the disease, an exercise program, and advice about tailoring routine activities. Pharmacotherapy includes annual influenza vaccines, and daily calcium (1200-1500 mg elemental calcium/day) and vitamin D (400-800 IU/day) supplements. New antiresorptive agents alendronate, hormone replacement therapy, and salmon calcitonin should be offered to all patients as they reduce fracture rates.
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