The mission of Melbourne arthritis Clinic’s Centre for Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Disease is to evaluate and treat patients with osteoporosis and other forms of diseases that affect bone. Osteoporosis is common. About 1 million Australians have osteoporosis and low bone mass. Estimates suggest that about half of all women older than 50, and up to one in four men, will break a bone because of osteoporosis. The risk of future fractures rises with each new fracture – this is known as the ‘cascade effect’. For example: women who have suffered a fracture in their spine are over 4 times more likely to have another fracture within the next year. It is essential that osteoporosis is diagnosed and treated to prevent further fractures

Since a woman has a greater than 50% chance of having a fracture, this is an important disease to evaluate and treat as early as possible. Osteoporosis is often called a silent disease because bone loss occurs without symptoms. The first symptom is often a fracture. By that time, a woman has often lost 30% or more of her bone mass. If evaluated at an early stage, patients can initiate prevention and treatment prior to the clinical manifestations of this silent disease.

A few Facts from Osteoporosis Australia

  • 4.74 million Australians over 50 years of age (66% of people over 50) have osteoporosis or osteopenia or poor bone health.
  • Based on the 4.74 million Australians with poor bone health, 22% have osteoporosis and 78% have osteopenia.
  • By 2022, it is estimated there will be 6.2 million Australians over the age of 50 with osteoporosis or osteopenia. That is a 31% increase from 2012.
  • In 2013 there is 1 fracture every 3.6 minutes in Australia. This equates to 395 fractures per day or 2,765 fractures per week.
  • By 2022 there will be 1 fracture every 2.9 minutes. That is 501 fractures per day and 3,521 fracture per week.
  • This compares to a fracture every 8.1 minutes in 2001 and a fracture every 5-6 minutes in 2007.
  • In 2012 there were 140,822 fractures that occurred as a result of osteoporosis or osteopenia. In 2022 it is expected there will be a 30% increase in the annual number of fractures resulting in 183,105 fractures per annum.
  • The estimated total number of fractures over the next 10 years is over 1.6 million. This includes new fractures and re-fractures.
  • Osteoporosis and osteopenia is not just a ‘women’s disease’. Men account for up to 30% of all fractures related to osteoporosis and osteopenia, and their associated costs. 

Our goal at Melbourne arthritis is to evaluate patients at an early stage to prevent the major complication of osteoporosis (fractures), and treat patients at the earliest possible stage to prevent additional disease manifestations.

The Centre sees patients with osteoporosis, disorders of calcium metabolism, and other metabolic bone diseases including Paget’s Disease, osteomalacia, and others. We refer to radiology for Dexa bone densitometry scans , which is used to assess bone density in the hip and spine, as well as radius and total body if clinically indicated. This technique allows us to evaluate the degree of bone loss, to diagnose osteoporosis and the risk for future fracture.