Osteoporosis Diagnostic, Research
and Treatment Center : About Osteoporosis
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis 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
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.