Osteoporosis is a silent, progressive disease characterized by decreased bone density and increased bone fragility—leading to high susceptibility to fractures.
Women Are at Risk for Osteoporosis
Men and women lose bone strength as they grow older, but women have higher risk for osteoporosis because they frequently have smaller, thinner frames. The risk for women increases greatly following menopause, with the decrease in bone-protecting estrogen. One in two women over the age of 50 has osteoporosis, yet nearly 80 percent remain undiagnosed because symptoms do not occur until much bone strength is lost.
Risk Factors & Prevention
Risk factors for osteoporosis may include:
- Advanced age.
- History of bone fractures.
- Small, thin frame.
- Family history of osteoporosis.
- Early menopause.
- Low calcium diet.
- Lack of exercise.
- History of eating disorders.
- Use of certain medicines (such as steroids or anticonvulsants).
- Alcohol and tobacco use.