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Chronic Disease & Injury

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is the most common type of bone disease. It is a silent disease that causes porous bones that break easily. One in two women over 50 and one in five older men will suffer from a fracture due to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis can be caused by a variety of reasons, including a lack of calcium in diet, sedentary lifestyle and certain medications.

Bone is living tissue. Existing bone is constantly being replaced by new bone. Osteoporosis occurs when the body fails to form enough new bone, when too much existing bone is reabsorbed by the body, or both.

Calcium is one of the important minerals needed for bones to form. If you do not get enough calcium and vitamin D, or your body does not absorb enough calcium from your diet, your bones may become brittle and more likely to fracture.

Sometimes bone loss occurs without any cause. White women are more likely to have bone loss. Sometimes the tendency to have bone loss and thin bones is passed down through families.

Resources

Symptoms:

  • There are no symptoms in the early stages of osteoporosis. Many times, people will have a fracture before learning that they have the disease.
  • Pain almost anywhere in the spine can be caused by fractures of the bones of the spine. These are called compression fractures. They often occur without an injury. The pain may occur suddenly or slowly over time.
  • There may be a loss of height (as much as 6 inches) over time. A stooped posture or kyphosis (also called a "dowager's hump") may develop.

Risk Factors:

Prevention of Osteoporosis:

Treatment: