Rising Number of People with Osteoporosis Growing Concern for Aging Population

As you get older, osteoporosis is one of the most common health concerns, especially for women. The bone disease creates a loss of bone density. These weakened bones fracture easily, causing mobility and long-term health care problems.

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Rising Number of People with Osteoporosis Growing Concern for Aging Population
3 Min Read June 21st, 2022

Osteoporosis is a chronic health condition characterized by excessive bone loss and related bone fractures caused by the disease. Approximately 10 million U.S. adults 50 years of age and older had osteoporosis, and an additional 33 million had low bone mass. 

A recent study illustrates the significance of this global problem. Over 200 million people have osteoporosis worldwide, and the incidence rate increases with age. The number of older people with osteoporosis is significant, with over 70% of those over age 80 being affected. It is more common in females than in males. More women are affected by bone density issues than men. In the developed world, 2% to 8% of males and 9% to 38% of females are impacted. Worldwide, there are approximately 9 million fractures yearly due to osteoporosis.

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases say osteoporosis is a "silent" disease. Individuals usually will not have symptoms and may not even know they have osteoporosis until they break a bone. 

Osteoporosis Leads to Fractures

Osteoporosis is the primary cause of fractures in postmenopausal women and older men. Most fractures occur in the hip, vertebrae in the spine, and wrist, although any bone can be affected.  

Often those with osteoporosis, especially those with fractures, require long-term health care and help with everyday living activities. For example, a hip fracture often leads to someone needing long-term care in a nursing home. 

People who have used steroids in the past are at higher risk for bone loss, osteoporosis, and broken bones. Even those treated for cancer can have a higher risk of bone loss.

The care recipients have limited independence and lower quality of life. Without quality care, the person's health can decline. 

DXA Scans Used to Diagnose 

A bone density test, or densitometry, is a scan that measures bone density. It is also called a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan.

Bone density tests are ordered by an individual's doctor to diagnose osteoporosis or osteopenia. Osteopenia is when your bones are weaker than normal but not yet to the point that places a person at high risk for fracture.

A bone density scan results in a T-score. The T-score gives a doctor a number used to diagnose a person with osteoporosis or osteopenia. 

There are medications that the doctor will use to improve bone density and help prevent a bone fracture. These medications can be used when someone has osteopenia or even osteoporosis.

T-Scores and Medications

According to Harvard Medical, a doctor will likely recommend medication if the person has:

  • a T-score of –2.5 or lower—the definition of osteoporosis

  • a history of hip or vertebral (spinal) fracture caused by a fall while standing (in contrast to a fall from a height)

  • a T-score between –1.0 and –2.5 (osteopenia) and a high risk of hip or osteoporosis-related fracture in the next 10 years.

Medication can improve your bone density and T-score, reducing your risk for a bone fracture. There are many medications, besides calcium supplements and Vitamin D, which the doctor may recommend - Osteoporosis drugs: Which one is right for you? - Harvard Health.

Drug Market for Osteoporosis Growing

The global osteoporosis drug market was valued at $11.5 Billion in 2018. Research shows the drug market for osteoporosis will continue to increase in the decades ahead.

The rising prevalence of osteoporosis due to a growing aging population more prone to osteoporosis, along with the introduction of new drug therapies, will grow this sector with the development and introduction of more medications to prevent and treat osteoporosis.

These medical developments will improve the quality of life for many older people. These medications will not prevent the need for long-term health care in older people. However, they will reduce some of the risks that fractures bring that cause much longer long-term care situations.

Aging and Long-Term Health Care 

U.S. government research suggests that about half the population who reach age 65 will need long-term health care services. The costs for these caregivers, either at a person's home or in a facility like assisted living, can adversely impact income and assets.

There is more than just the financial impact of long-term health care to be concerned about. Many people are concerned with the consequences on the family. Adult children often become default in-home care providers since no other plan was implemented. 

Older adults who suffer from falls or have limited mobility due to osteoporosis require more attention and professional care to keep them safe and improve their quality of life. The care costs are increasing dramatically due to inflation, higher labor costs, and greater demand for care services.

Be Proactive

Taking proactive steps with health and planning will better manage aging and future care. Women over 50 and certain men should discuss when to schedule their first bone density test.

Planning for access to quality care and protecting assets from the cost of care should start before health problems begin to mount. Most people obtain Long-Term Care Insurance in their 50s. LTC Insurance is generally the ideal way to safeguard assets and access quality care options.

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About the Author

Linda Maxwell is a retired journalist who now focuses on writing about topics that captivate her, such as aging, health, long-term care, and retirement issues. Her aim is to maintain an active and engaged mind, and through her writing, she hopes to help others stay positively engaged with life.

LTC News Contributor Linda Maxwell

Linda Maxwell

Contributor since December 11th, 2017

Editor's Note

There are so many things that go wrong with the human body over time. Even if you do everything right regarding your health, you are still at risk. Sure, watch your diet, exercise, and get regular check-ups with your doctor. No matter, aging still has consequences that affect your family and finances.

Since so many people need long-term health care at some point in their lifetime, being prepared for the costs and burdens of aging is a vital part of overall retirement planning.

Long-term health care costs are increasing dramatically. The financial impact is considerable. The effect on your family is also a significant concern. You might think a son or daughter can provide your future care, but it is hard to juggle their career and family responsibilities with being your caregiver. Family caregivers are usually untrained and unprepared for the job.

This is why affordable Long-Term Care Insurance is so critical. You will have access to your choice of quality care options, including at home. An LTC policy addresses the significant cash flow problem with the guaranteed tax-free benefits available to pay for quality care services. However, the policy also gives your loved one’s time to be family instead of your caregiver.

Most people obtain coverage in their 50s when premiums are lower, and their health allows them to enjoy the most options.

Seek Professional Help Planning for Long-Term Care

Experts recommend seeking the help of a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you find the right coverage. A specialist will match your age, health, and family history with the right coverage at the right price. 

Long-term care is a very specialized area, and few insurance agents and financial advisors have the expertise. Find a specialist who represents the top companies as premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies. Leading specialists will often have over 500 clients with Long-Term Care Insurance.

A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

Planning Tools and Resources Available on LTC NEWS

Planning for the future is never easy, but long-term health care planning can be very complicated and comes with many emotions. Getting the right tools and resources will make the process much easier.

One of the goals is to reduce the stress and anxiety usually placed on your family at the time of crisis. LTC NEWS can be beneficial in providing you with important information for you to consider.

LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:

You might have questions and LTC NEWS provides the answers for many of the most asked questions here - Frequently Asked Questions | LTC News. Find all the resources available on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Does Mom or Dad Need Help Now?

If your family is already in crisis and you need to find help and the right care services for mom or dad, LTC NEWS can help. We have put together several comprehensive guides to help you in your process.

Start by reading our four guides -  

If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

Get Assistance in Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim

Many insurance companies have issued Long-Term Care Insurance policies over the years. Filing a claim can sometimes be complicated unless you know what to do or get expert help and assistance. 

Don't allow the claim process to stop you from using the benefits available in an LTC policy. Quality care obtained early will help provide a better quality of life and reduce the risk of a deep decline and facility care. 

If you need help in starting the process of a Long-Term Care Insurance claim, LTC NEWS can help. LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you or a loved one complete the claims process with a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. We have teamed up with Amada Senior Care, who will do all the work - free with no obligation. 

Get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

Advantages of Reverse Mortgages 

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance. You might be eligible at younger ages as well. 

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, and even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. Mike Banner, LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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Email your story idea or article: newsroom@ltcnews.com - LTC News Contributors | LTC News

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