Osteoporosis—a disease in which bones lose density and become more fragile and susceptible to fracture—is one of the leading causes of death and disability among older adults, leading to decreased quality of life, loss of mobility and chronic pain.
It affects men and women of all races—but postmenopausal women are at highest risk. Among the 11 million people affected by osteoporosis in the United States, over two-thirds are postmenopausal women.
Despite being a treatable disease, it remains underdiagnosed and undertreated in the US general population, with significant disparities in care between non-White and White women—and Black women experiencing the most disparities.
Studies have shown that non-White women are less likely to be screened for osteoporosis, to be prescribed pharmacotherapy or to receive treatment post-fracture. And while non-White women fracture at lower rates than White women, they experience higher rates of disability and death when a fracture occurs.
A team of researchers led by Karina N. Ruiz-Esteves, MD, Jimmitti Teysir, MD (co-first authors) and Sherri-Ann Burnett-Bowie, MD, MPH, from the Endocrine Division and Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital took a closer look at these disparities and outlined a plan for addressing them in a recent review in the journal Maturitas.