Millions of older Americans suffer from osteoporosis, a disease that thins and weakens bones to the point that they become fragile and break easily. Osteoporosis is especially common in older women. One out of every two women and one in four men over age 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime, most often breaking bones in the hip, spine, and wrist. To help people learn more about this serious bone disease, information about the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis has just been added to NIHSeniorHealth (http://www.nihseniorhealth.gov). The NIHSeniorHealth Web site, which was designed especially for seniors, is a joint effort of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM), which are part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the Department of Health and Human Services.
"Osteoporosis, the major underlying cause of fractures in older people, is often called a 'silent' disease because it progresses without symptoms," says Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), which developed the content for the osteoporosis topic on NIHSeniorHealth. "The launch of the osteoporosis topic on NIHSeniorHealth will give this condition a greater voice, benefiting thousands of older women and men."
One of the fastest growing age groups using the Internet, older Americans increasingly turn to the World Wide Web for health information. In fact, 66 percent of "wired" seniors surf for health and medical information when they go online. NIHSeniorHealth is based on the latest research on cognition and aging. It features short, easy-to-read segments of information that can be accessed in a variety of formats, including various large-print type sizes, open-captioned videos, and an audio version. Additional topics coming soon to the site include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure, and clinical trials. The site links to MedlinePlus, NLM's premier, more detailed site for consumer health information.
The NIA leads the Federal effort supporting and conducting research on aging and the health and well-being of older people. The NLM, the world's largest library of the health sciences, creates and sponsors Web-based health information resources for the public and professionals. The NIAMS supports research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases. All three are components of the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.