About This Condition
Osteoporosis is a condition in which the normal amount of bone mass has decreased.
People with osteoporosis have brittle bones, which increases the risk of bone fracture, particularly in the hip, spine, and wrist. Osteoporosis is most common in postmenopausal Asian and Caucasian women. Premenopausal women are partially protected against bone loss by the hormone called estrogen. Black women often have slightly greater bone mass than do other women, which helps protect against bone fractures. In men, testosterone partially protects against bone loss even after middle age. Beyond issues of race, age, and gender, incidence varies widely from society to society, suggesting that osteoporosis is largely preventable.
Osteoporosis is a silent disease that may not be noticed until a broken bone occurs. Signs may include diminished height, rounded shoulders, dowager’s hump, and evidence of bone loss from diagnostic tests. Symptoms may include neck or back pain.
Healthcare providers also recommend adequate dietary calcium intake and weight-bearing exercise.