According to the National Institutes of Health, about 32% of women who live to age 80 have hip fractures. A woman's risk of a hip fracture equals the combined risk of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer, and the risk of dying of hip fracture is equal to breast cancer mortality. The prevalence of vertebral fractures is 42% in women of advanced age and/or who have decreased bone mass. In women, a rapid rise of vertebral fractures, which is initially associated with the onset of menopause, is followed by an increase in the frequency of wrist and hip fractures due to age-related bone loss.
Osteoporosis develops less often in men than women because bone loss starts later and progresses more slowly in men, and there is no period of rapid hormonal change and accompanying rapid bone loss. Differences in bone geometry and remodeling also contribute to the lower rate of fractures in men. However, in the past few years, the problem of osteoporosis in men has become recognized as an important public health issue, particularly in light of estimates that the number of men older than 70 will double between 1993 and 2050 according to the US National Osteoporosis Foundation.