Osteoporosis is a common condition that affects both men and women. It is more common in older adults, but it can occur at any age. In the United States, it is estimated that about 53 million people have osteoporosis or low bone density, and one in two women and one in four men over the age of 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.
In osteoporosis, the balance between osteoblast-mediated bone formation and osteoclast-mediated bone resorption is disrupted causing bones to become weak and brittle. Factors that can affect bone metabolism include age, diet, hormone levels, and lifestyle factors such as physical activity and smoking.
Osteoporosis is often referred to as a “silent disease” and people with osteoporosis may not be aware that they have the condition until they have a bone fracture. It is important to diagnose and treat osteoporosis early in order to prevent fractures and maintain overall bone health.
Several medications are available to treat and prevent osteoporosis. These medications work by slowing bone loss (anti-resorptive agents) or increasing bone density (anabolic agents), thereby reducing the risk of fractures. While detectable and significant changes in bone mineral density (BMD) take 18 to 24 months to develop, bone turnover markers have been shown to detect changes in bone tissue within 3 – 6 months after starting therapy.
Measurement of bone turnover markers can therefore serve as an early indicator for the efficacy of treatment, and it is increasingly recommended as a key component of disease management.