Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by a decrease in bone density (mass and quality). It is a disorder in which bones become increasingly porous and brittle leading to increased risk of fracture.
It is often referred to as a silent disease because signs are clinically silent until manifested by fractures. This affects a large proportion of post-menopausal women; although it also affects men.
Types of Osteoporosis include;
Primary osteoporosis is unrelated to other diseases or conditions and is the more common of the two. It is most common in post-menopause women or older men, but can occur at any age.
Secondary osteoporosis occurs as a side effect of medication or secondary to another condition or disease.
Osteoporosis is by far the most common bone disease, exceeding all others in its clinical and economic importance. About 10 million Americans currently have osteoporosis and 34 million are at risk for the disease.
By 2020, half of Americans over the age of 50 will have osteoporosis or low bone density (National Osteoporosis Foundation).
Osteoporosis most frequently associated sites include the hip, spine and distal forearm.
Vertebral fractures are quoted as occurring three times as often as hip fractures but often remain undetected.
How this is managed/prevented?
1. Ensure a nutritious diet and adequate calcium intake.
2. Avoid under-nutrition, particularly the effects of severe weight-loss diets and eating disorders.
3. Maintain an adequate supply of vitamin D.
4. Participate in regular weight-bearing activity.
5. Avoid smoking and second-hand smoking.
6. Avoid heavy drinking.