What is Osteoporosis?

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What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease that affects the bones, causing progressive bone loss. When a person has osteoporosis, their bones become porous and are at a heightened risk of fracture. Osteoporosis is an incredibly common disease among older men and women, and is often not detected until they experience a fracture. This is primarily because the disease is not accompanied by symptoms, and is best identified by having a bone density test.

Bone spongy structure close-ups, normal and with osteoporosis

Why does osteoporosis happen?

Losing bone mass with age is a natural process. However, developing higher bone mass before reaching the age of “peak bone mass”, can help prevent osteoporosis. Typically, people reach their peak between the ages of 25 and 30. We slowly lose bone mass after that peak, and our bodies begin to slow the process of forming new bone (as happens during childhood and adolescence). Those with low bone mass after their peak are typically at a higher risk. Developing the condition can also result from a number of controllable and uncontrollable risk factors ranging from sex, age, family medical history, lifestyle choices that may include diet, weight, alcohol intake and smoking, etc.

What common problems are associated with the disease?

Spinal fractures are of chief concern for those living with osteoporosis. Because bones weaken with age and at an increasing rate with osteoporosis, the spine is also affected. This risk typically grows as the disease progresses.

Loss of strength and balance are side effects of osteoporosis and are commonly responsible for the high rate of falls and falls that may lead to fracture. While spinal fractures are very common, hip fractures and wrist fractures happen at an alarming rate as well (typically sustained after a fall).
Osteoporosis patients also often experience a loss of height and weight, and may develop a hump or curvature in their upper back. This leads to posture problems and difficulty performing everyday tasks.

Who is affected by osteoporosis?

While osteoporosis is more common among women, men are at risk as well. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, one in two women and one in four men over the age of 50 sustain a fracture due to osteoporosis. In addition, their reports show that nearly 54 million Americans already have osteoporosis and diminished bone mass.

To help raise awareness of this increasingly common disease, we’ve put together insightful topics from our doctors and an assortment of trusted resources in honor of Osteoporosis Prevention and Awareness Month.

Rebound Osteoporosis Resources:

Spinal Fractures Caused by Osteoporosis

Understanding your spine and how movement impacts your risk for fracture is vital when living with osteoporosis. Learn how spinal fractures occur, how Rebound neurosurgeons treat spinal fractures, and prevention methods.

Osteoporosis Prevention, Detection and Myths

As physicians, it is our job to dispel common myths associated with disease and provide important information that may help those at risk. Osteoporosis is no exception. Learn why bone density tests play a major role in prevention.

Add These Bone-Healthy Foods to Your Diet

Incorporating nutritious foods that promote bone health into your diet is an excellent way to help prevent osteoporosis, fracture and maintain overall musculoskeletal health. Learn which foods are rich in calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin K and other nutrients essential to bone health and growth.

Blueprint for Better Joint Mobility: How Activity Keeps Your Bones Healthy as You Age

Like diet, exercise is crucial to ensuring a healthy skeleton and preventing common bone-related diseases and conditions. Exercise and activity have the ability to slow the process of losing muscle and bone mass with age, which can in turn help prevent the disease.

 

Trusted Osteoporosis Resources:

National Osteoporosis Foundation – Learn About Osteoporosis

NOF – Osteoporosis- What You Need to Know

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) – Osteoporosis

AAOS – Osteoporosis Prevention

AAOS & Orthopaedic Trauma Association – Fall Prevention and Awareness Guide

AAOS – Healthy Bones at Every Age