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What is Osteoporosis?

Recently we’ve covered the basics of a hip fracture as well as the available recovery and treatment options.

As we’ve discussed these topics, you may have noticed osteoporosis as a common thread running through both posts. Osteoporosis is the most common bone disease, and causes bones to become brittle and fragile due to the loss of tissue, or a deficiency of calcium or vitamin D.

Today we’re going to take a step further and dive into the basics of osteoporosis.

Bones are living tissues that are constantly being broken down and replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of a new bone can’t keep up with the removal of an old bone.

In the early stages of bone loss, symptoms are not always apparent. But when the bones are weakened by osteoporosis, a person may experience some of the following signs and symptoms:

  • A bone fracture in the hip, spine or wrist that occurs more easily than expected
  • Back pain that’s caused by either a fractured or collapsed vertebra
  • Loss of height over time
  • Stooped posture

The most common risk factors of osteoporosis include:

  • Family history– This is the most important risk factor of osteoporosis. Someone with a parent or grandparent who exhibited signs of osteoporosis is likely at a greater risk for also developing this condition.
  • Gender– Women 50 years and older are at the greatest risk of developing this bone condition. To that end, women are four times more likely to develop this disease than men.
  • Age Bone mass begins to decline naturally with age, as maximum bone density and strength is reached around the age of 30.
  • Bone structure and body weight– Petite women with a thin frame are at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis.
  • Ethnicity– Research has shown that Caucasian and Asian women are most likely to develop osteoporosis.

Finally, in addition to these risk factors, lack of calcium can play a major role in the development of osteoporosis. A calcium deficiency contributes to lower bone density, early bone loss and an increased risk of fractures.

Check back in the coming weeks for the common tests and diagnostic treatment options  associated with osteoporosis.

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St. Barnabas Health System,
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St. Barnabas Health System
5850 Meridian Road
Gibsonia, PA 15044

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