What bones other than vertebrae are prone to fracture in osteoporosis?

Real-Life Challenge: Osteoporosis

A 72-year-old woman recently experienced bandlike, midthoracic back pain following a minor fall. Imaging studies confirm fractures of T-7 and T-8 vertebrae. Measurement of this small-boned woman revealed a loss of 1 inch in height, with a current measurement of 5 feet 1 inch compared with 5 feet 2 inches at the last physical examination 14 months ago. Serum calcium is elevated. The CT scan indicates osteoporosis. According to history, the patient does not include many dairy products in her diet and takes no dietary supplements. In addition, she has never taken any form of estrogen replacement and does not exercise regularly.


1. In what type of individual would you expect to find the greatest incidence of osteoporosis?

2. What bones other than vertebrae are prone to fracture in osteoporosis?

3. Why would serum calcium be elevated in osteoporosis?

4. What is meant by the description of osteoporosis as a metabolic bone disease?

5. What should be included in a diet to prevent or slow the onset of osteoporosis?

6. Why is daily exercise important in preventing osteoporosis?

7. What type of drug therapy may be prescribed for the patient?


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