Osteoporosis

About 10 million people in the US live with this osteoporosis, a disease that causes one’s bones to become weakened and brittle and most commonly affecting women over 50.

It is thought that another 44 million Americans are at risk of developing osteoporosis, as they have low bone density which places them at great risk.

HCPs, alternative practitioners, and other voices in the healthcare community are taking to social media to discuss this condition. What are they saying?

Search Trends

The Trends Section provides an overview of some of the most recent and relevant topics that relate to particular health conditions.

It features a selection of the topics that have the fastest growing Google search interest across the last three months, and reflects the inquiries of patients, healthcare providers, scientists, and others who are invested in the topic.

This is valuable to understand people’s interests and concerns at the present moment, and often include the U.S. states that have the highest interest in a topic. 

Quilt.AI brings these trends to life through an analysis that incorporates both cultural and scientific lenses.

When it comes to drugs to manage symptoms of osteoporosis, what are people searching for?

What is trending on search for Osteoporosis?

Search interest for best exercises for osteoporosis grew by 63% in the past 3 months, from May 2022 to July 2022

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1. Exercise as a treatment for osteoporosis

Treatment options for osteoporosis are varied and include bisphosphonates, denosumab shots, hormone-related therapy and other bone-building medications. Treatments are prescribed depending on the severity of the condition.

Medications for osteoporosis work best when coupled with an active lifestyle that promotes bone strength. Searches for the best exercises for osteoporosis reflect this, and are particularly high among older people (50+) who are more likely to have osteoporosis. 

This trend is an indication of a desire among osteoporosis sufferers for more holistic treatment for the condition.

2. Growing interest in osteoporosis prevention

Higher calcium intake has been shown to lead to greater bone density and fewer fractures. Inadequate calcium intake can contribute significantly to the development of osteoporosis, and there is evidence that the use of calcium supplements can help reduce postmenopausal bone loss

Increased searches for calcium supplements for osteoporosis signals a greater interest in prevention and a more holistic approach to improving bone health. 

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Search interest for best calcium supplements for osteoporosis grew by 90% in the past 3 months, from May 2022 to July 2022 

Search interest for Fosamax side effects in elderly grew by 85% in the past 3 months, from May 2022 to July 2022

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3. Understanding side effects

Bisphosphonates are used in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. They are administered both orally and intravenously. Popular drugs include alendronic acid, ibandronate, pamidronate, and zoledronic acid[1]. Fosamax is a brand of alendronic acid.

Research suggests that while bisphosphonates are the preferred choice for the reduction of vertebral fractures, there are long-term side effects. These may include osteonecrosis jaw, esophageal cancer, atrial fibrillation, and an increase in the risk of atypical fractures[2]

The increased interest in the side effects of drugs like Fosamax indicate an opportunity for clearer guidance from drug makers and HCPs on the pros and cons of different osteoporosis treatment options.

4. Osteoporosis concern among younger women  

Research shows that postmenopausal women are especially susceptible to osteoporosis, as the falling estrogen levels associated with menopause directly impact bone density.[1]  It is estimated that 30% of postmenopausal Caucasian women in the US have osteoporosis. 

The increasing search interest in osteoporosis is driven by younger women – especially those in the 25-34 age range. This reflects a growing awareness about the condition, and a growing desire for prevention. 

This presents an opportunity for HCPs and healthcare companies to engage women of all ages in an ongoing conversation about bone health.

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Search interest for osteoporosis women grew by 115% in the past 3 months, from May 2022 to July 2022

Search interest for Murad Deep Relief Acne Treatment grew by 61% in the last 3 months, from May 2022 to July 2022.

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5. The risks of Boniva

Searches for the brand-name osteoporosis drug Boniva (ibandronate) have steadily increased over the past three months.

Boniva is among the most popular drugs prescribed for osteoporosis, and is typically used by post-menopausal women. It is taken as a monthly pill and works by slowing down bone loss and reducing the risk of bone fractures. 

Although the drug remains a reliable osteoporosis option for many, there is ongoing speculation about its long-term safety. Research articles and items on popular health websites have driven this discussion in recent months, and this information comes up often in searches. 

Osteoporosis in Culture

The Culture Section highlights emerging cultural trends, new products, and notable dialogue about a variety of health conditions. The purpose of this section is to zoom in on what has been happening within the cultural and professional landscape of a particular health condition–stories that are often missed by quantitative searches.

By featuring influential social media items, patient discourse, professional dialogue, product innovations, and impactful news items, this section illuminates the lived experiences of many patients, while also providing a snapshot of the developments happening around them. 

Here, Quilt.AI offers a detailed and nuanced perspective of what is new and what is meaningful.

1. Alternative osteoporosis treatments 

On Twitter and TikTok, people with high risk for osteoporosis are questioning the heavy drug-based treatments suggested by their doctors, expressing their worries about the potential side effects of these medications. They are posting videos of alternative treatments, such as Chinese medicine, that they say have helped them completely cure osteoporosis. 

With social media quickly becoming a go-to channel for healthcare information, it’s critical that HCPs and drug brands engage in the conversation, both to learn about alternative therapies and to respond to concerns about osteoporosis drugs.

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@jeniferrooke Reply to @graceshortstudio It says it may help with BONE DENSITY…IT HEALED MINE #YES #bonedensity #osteoporosis #joints #PAIN #bonehealth #homeopathy ♬ original sound - Jenifer J Rooke

2. Eating to manage osteoporosis   

Food and diet play a vital role in treating osteoporosis, and conversations about what to eat to manage and prevent osteoporosis is popular on social media. In particular, osteoporosis sufferers promote foods rich in calcium and magnesium, while recommending against beans and alcohol. There are also many posts on vegetarian and even vegan diets that can help with osteoporosis. 

The topic of what to eat is confusing in general, and is particularly difficult for people who are managing conditions like osteoporosis. Social media allows people with the condition to draw from the experiences of others like them. For HCPs and drug brands, these food influencers can be a valuable marketing channel.

3.  Expert perspectives on social media

Individuals identifying as health professionals, such as orthopedic doctors, frontline health workers, physicians, etc., use social media platforms to provide information on the causes, symptoms, and treatment of osteoporosis. 

One of the most common pieces of advice among these expert netizens is to take prescription magnesium and calcium medications to treat the condition.   

Advice like this – which drives viewers to seek a prescription from a qualified doctor –  is a good demonstration of how HCPs can leverage social media to inform patients while still advocating for interaction with a medical professional.

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4. Lifting weights to strengthen bones

There is a thriving community of TikTokers who focus on promoting exercise as a promising treatment for osteoporosis, alongside medication. In particular, these TikTokers advocate for weight training as a mode of exercise that can help maintain bone strength.

Interventions like exercise give people a sense of power over their health conditions, esp. when it’s recommended by others who suffer from the same condition. This leads not just to a better physical health outcome, but better psychological adjustment to being ill as well.

5. Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month

The Bone Health & Osteoporosis Foundation’s (BHOF) Twitter account (@bonehealthBHOF) was busy this May commemorating Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month. The main message was to promote exercise to achieve optimal bone health, and included a May calendar with infographics to inspire and educate. Using the hashtags #exercisetomaximize, #bebonestrong, and #osteoporosisawareness, it got the word out to its 7.4K followers, and to many others through engagement on their feeds. 

Alongside these efforts, BHOF also hosted the virtual Interdisciplinary Symposium on Osteoporosis (ISO) from May 5-7. The event is the largest osteoporosis-focused clinical conference in the country, and was attended by hundreds of HCPs.