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Osteoporosis

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by weak and brittle bones. Osteoporosis is a term to describe porous bones. Sometimes the bones can become so brittle that activities like bending over, lifting a vacuum or coughing can cause a fracture.

What causes Osteoporosis?

In most cases, the brittle and weak bones are caused by low levels of calcium, phosphorous and other minerals in your bones.

What are the Symptoms of Osteoporosis?

In the early stages of osteoporosis, symptoms may not be noticeable. However, as bones continue to weaken, some of the symptoms are:

  • Back pain
  • Loss of height over time, with an accompanying stooped posture
  • Fracture of the vertebrae, wrists, hips or other bones

Bone Strength

The strength of your bones depends on their mass and density. Bone density partially depends on the amount of calcium, phosphorus and other minerals bones contain. When your bones contain less mineral, their strength is decreased.

Activities like hiking, swimming, pilates, and running help improve bone density and lowers your risk of developing osteoporosis.

Risks for developing Osteoporosis

Your risk of developing osteoporosis depends on how much bone mass you attained between ages 25 and 35 (peak bone mass) and how rapidly you lose it later. The higher your peak bone mass, the more bone you have "in the bank" and the less likely you’ll be to develop osteoporosis as you lose bone during normal aging. Some medications may also cause osteoporosis.

Some other risks of osteoporosis are:

How is Osteoporosis Detected?

Osteoporosis can be detected through bone density tests. Bone density tests can measure bone density in various sites of the body. If you suspect that you might have osteoporosis, ask your doctor to perform a bone density test.

What are the Complications of Osteoporosis?

Some of the most common complications are: spinal fractures, wrist fractures, hip fractures, and compression of your vertebrae (causing loss of height or stooped posture) are the most frequent and serious complication of osteoporosis.

Treatment Options for Osteoporosis

Your doctor can give you a complete list of treatment options that are tailored to your needs.

Osteoporosis Statistics

  • It is estimated that one in two women over 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture.
  • Osteoporosis is a threat to 28 million Americans and is currently one of the most under-diagnosed and under-treated disorders in medicine.
  • According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, once a woman reaches 60 years of age, she has a one in four chance of breaking a bone due to osteoporosis.
  • In the United States, it is estimated that osteoporosis accounts for more than 1.5 million fractures each year.

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