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Winthrop University Hospital

Osteoporosis Diagnostic, Research
and Treatment Center : About Osteoporosis

About Osteoporosis

What is Osteoporosis?

MPE_030C.jpgOsteoporosis is a debilitating disease that can be prevented and treated. Characterized by low bone mass, which causes bones to become fragile and more likely to break, osteoporosis -- if not prevented, or if left untreated -- can progress silently and painlessly until a bone breaks. These breaks, or fractures, typically occur in the hip, spine and wrist.

A hip fracture almost always requires hospitalization and major surgery. It can impair a person's ability to walk unassisted, and may cause prolonged or permanent disability or even death. Spinal or vertebral fractures also have serious consequences, including loss of height, severe back pain and deformity ("dowager's hump").

Who Gets Osteoporosis?

Millions of Americans are at risk. While women are four times more likely than men to develop the disease, men also suffer from osteoporosis.

If you are older than 40, your bone mass has already begun to decrease. The bone mass you have as a young adult and the rate at which you lose it as you age, are the factors that determine your risk for osteoporosis.

The good news is that this disease can be prevented if discovered early. If detected later, it can be treated and stopped. With medication and a healthy lifestyle, you can protect yourself from debilitating bone fractures. It is never too late!

Are You at Risk?

The only way to find out if you are at risk for osteoporosis is by having your bone density measured. By assessing your risk factors, you can tell if you are more susceptible than average.

Osteoporosis Risk Quiz

                                    Yes          No

Are you a menopausal woman?         ____        ____

Did your mother or grandmother 
have osteoporosis?                  ____        ____

Have you had your ovaries
removed, early menopause 
or prolonged amenorrhea?            ____        ____

Have you been a frequent dieter?    ____        ____

Do you smoke?                       ____        ____

Do you drink excessively?           ____        ____

Is your diet low in calcium 
and Vitamin D?                      ____        ____

Do you lead a sedentary lifestyle?  ____        ____

Were you ever confined to bed
for a long period of time?          ____        ____

Did you ever take medications
that can cause bone loss
(corticosteroid drugs)?             ____        ____

The more often you answered "yes" to a question,
the more likely you are to develop osteoporosis.
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