Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and loss of bone tissue that may lead to weak and fragile bones. If you have osteoporosis, you have an increased risk for fractured bones (broken bones), particularly in the hip, spine, and wrist.
Osteoporosis is often considered to be a condition that frail elderly women develop. However, the damage from osteoporosis begins much earlier in life. Because peak bone density is reached at approximately 25 years of age, it is important to build strong bones by that age, so that the bones will remain strong later in life. Adequate calcium intake is an essential part of building strong bones.
In the United States, nearly 10 million people already have osteoporosis. Another 18 million people have low bone mass that places them at an increased risk for developing osteoporosis. As our population ages, these numbers will increase. About 80% of those with osteoporosis are women. Of people older than 50 years of age, one in two women and one in eight men are predicted to have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.
According to the World Health Organization, the prevalence of osteoporosis among U.S. white women past menopause is estimated to be 14% in those 50-59 years of age, 22% in those 60-69 years of age, 39% in those 70-79 years of age, and 70% in those 80 years of age and older. Significant risk has been reported in people of all ethnic backgrounds. White and Asian racial groups, however, are at greatest risk.
Must Read Articles Related to Osteoporosis
Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Osteoporosis:
Osteoporosis - Symptoms
The symptoms of osteoporosis can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?
Osteoporosis - Treatment
Please describe how you're treating your osteoporosis.