Osteoporosis is a reduction in both the mineral content and the organic matrix of bone. This predisposes to fractures, most commonly of the upper femur, wrist, humeral neck or a vertebral body. Osteoporosis causes much serious illness, with major economic consequences: in England and Wales about 37,500 hip fractures annually cost £165 million, assuming each patient requires 40 days in hospital at a cost of £110 a day, and this does not include the cost of community care after leaving hospital.1
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