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Postmenopausal Osteoporosis
and Bone Health for Women

The Know My Bones Council announced results from a national Harris Interactive survey, which found that one-out-of-five women with postmenopausal osteoporosis (PMO) are retiring later than anticipated and nearly half (48 percent) blame the current economy.

Despite the need to work longer, half of the women with PMO are fearful that the disease will limit their ability to work. However, the research shows (n=889 with PMO; n=912 without PMO) that many women are not optimally managing their osteoporosis, putting them at greater risk for fracture, which may lead to chronic pain, disability and even death.

"As women retire later, bone health is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Women need to make a substantial investment in their bone health to remain active and independent," said Felicia Cosman, MD., Clinical Director of the National Osteoporosis Foundation and Medical Director of the Clinical Research Center at the Helen Hayes Hospital. "Although some women are making significant strides toward better bone health, many are not and need to do more."

"Since four-out-of-five people with osteoporosis are women, it is important for women to prioritize their bone health," said Archelle Georgiou, MD., a member of the Society for Women's Health Research Board of Directors.

About Osteoporosis

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis, often referred to as a "silent disease," is increasing in significance as the population of our nation both increases and ages. The World Health Organization, the National Osteoporosis Foundation and the U.S. Surgeon General have officially declared osteoporosis a public health crisis. In fact, osteoporosis and associated fractures are a significant cause of mortality and morbidity.

  • In the US today, nearly eight million women suffer from osteoporosis
  • Almost 34 million Americans are estimated to have low bone mass, placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis
  • Half of women over 50 in the US will experience an osteoporosis-related fracture in her lifetime
  • Broken bones due to osteoporosis are more common in women than breast cancer, heart attacks and strokes combined
  • The impact of breaking a bone is significant and often leads to a downward spiral for the patient
    • A woman who has broken a bone as a result of osteoporosis has more than an 8 out of 10 greater chance of breaking another bone
    • One in four women who have broken a bone will fracture again within a year
    • Half of the women who break a hip will permanently need assistance to walk
    • Nearly one in four women who have broken a hip will die within one year

  • By 2025, the annual direct costs of treating osteoporosis fractures in the US are estimated at $25 billion

With menopause, bone loss occurs faster than new bone can form as a result of lower levels of estrogen, leading to osteoporosis.

In fact, women can lose up to 20 percent of their bone density in the five to seven years after menopause begins. This decreased bone mineral density weakens the bone and puts women at higher risk for fractures or broken bones.

About the Know My Bones Council Guided by the belief that the path to optimal bone health can be found through educating and empowering women to more actively manage their disease, six leading women's advocacy groups have joined forces to create the Know My Bones Council.

The Council, formed in 2009 with sponsorship and participation from Amgen, unified with the goal of encouraging women living with PMO to prioritize their bone health and to seek information that will empower them to fight the disease.

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