Osteoporosis occurs when bones become weak and brittle. If left unchecked, it can lead to fractures. Any bone can be affected. Fractures of special concern are of the hip, spine and wrist.
Throughout life, old bone is removed and new bone is added to your skeleton. After age 30, more bone is lost than replaced. If too much bone loss occurs, this may lead to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is more likely to occur if full bone mass was not achieved during your bone-building years.
Osteoporosis occurs when bones become weak and brittle. If left unchecked, it can lead to Fracture. Any bone can be affected. Fractures of special concern are of the Hip Fracture, Vertebral Compression Fracture and Wrist Fracture.
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Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
Osteoporosis can be seen with bone mineral density (BMD) tests of the hip, spine, wrist or other site. These may include:
- Central (preferred) or peripheral dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA)
- Quantitative ultrasound (QUS)
- Central or peripheral quantitative CT scan (QCT)
Building strong bones throughout your early years is the best defense against osteoporosis. Getting enough calcium,
vitamin D and regular exercise can keep bones strong throughout life.
To help reduce your chance of developing osteoporosis, take these steps:
- Eat a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D
- Perform weight-bearing exercise
- Live a healthy lifestyle (no smoking, drink alcohol only in moderation)
- If you are a postmenopausal woman at high risk for bone fractures, medications may be appropriate to prevent osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is more common in women than in men. Other factors that may increase your chance of developing osteoporosis include:
- Increasing age
- Low weight
- Alcohol abuse
- History of falls
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Postmenopausal status
Certain conditions, such as:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
(no menstrual periods)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Liver disease
- Eating disorder
- Crohn's disease
- Use of certain medications, such as antidepressants, long-term heparin, corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, or antacids
- Low hormone levels (low estrogen levels in women, low testosterone levels in men)
- Inactive lifestyle
- Certain restrictive diets that may result in a deficit of
- Too little sunlight (the effect of sun on the skin is a primary source of vitamin D)
- Certain cancers, including
In most cases, people with osteoporosis remain symptom-free until there is a fracture. In those that do have symptoms, osteoporosis may cause:
- Severe back pain with fracture of the vertebrae, wrists, hips, or other bones
- Loss of height with stooped posture, a condition called kyphosis
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The treatment and management of osteoporosis involves lifestyle changes and medications. Although osteoporosis is highly preventable, it cannot be cured. Treatment focuses on reducing the incidence of fractures and slowing bone loss.