What is Osteoporosis?

Approximately one in two women will break a bone because of osteoporosis.

red-broken-hip

What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones. It happens when you lose too much bone, make too little bone, or both. As a result, your bones become weak and may break. It is often called a silent disease because you can’t feel your bones getting weaker. Breaking a bone is often the first sign that you have osteoporosis, or you may notice that you are getting shorter or your upper back is curving forward.

How is osteoporosis diagnosed?
A medical evaluation to diagnose osteoporosis and estimate your risk of breaking a bone may involve a physical examination, reviewing your medical history, a bone density (DXA) scan, calculating a FRAX score, and doing laboratory tests.

How does osteoporosis affect me?
Females are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis and broken bones. Of the 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, about eight million or 80% are women. A woman’s risk of breaking a hip is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer.

What can you do to protect your bones?
Get enough calcium and vitamin D and eat a well-balanced diet. Engage in regular weight-bearing and resistance training exercises. Eat foods that are good for bone health, such as dairy products, fruits, and vegetables. Avoid smoking and limit alcohol intake to 2-3 drinks per day.

Adapted from the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) website.