Osteoporosis and bone loss.
can make a difference.
life, our bodies go through continuous
bone-building cycles, in which old bone is
broken down and new bone is formed.
Osteoporosis is caused by an imbalance in
these cycles where more bone is broken down
than is replaced. Osteoporosis is a disease
that causes bones to become more porous,
gradually making them weaker and more
estimated 28 million Americans have
osteoporosis–80 percent are women. Yet, only
a relatively small number of women with
osteoporosis have been diagnosed or treated.
Why is this?
Because, early on, osteoporosis is a silent
disease, which means you may not see any
signs. Also, many women believe that if they
simply watch their diet and exercise
regularly, they won't be affected.
key. The more you know about bone loss and
your options in the prevention and treatment
of osteoporosis, the better your chances of
staying active and independent. This guide
is designed to give you the basic facts
about osteoporosis, as well as information
about available tests.
everyone is different, you should talk to
your doctor about your individual situation.
The best way to help your doctor assess
whether you have low bone density or
osteoporosis, and are at risk for breaking a
bone from minor injury, is to have a Bone
is dense and strong.
bone has thinned out.
"Osteo" means bone; "porosis" means porous.
Ask your doctor
about Bone Density Testing.
early on, osteoporosis is silent, you may
not know your bones are getting weak. A Bone
Density Test is a way to help your doctor
diagnose osteoporosis. It may also be used
to monitor your rate of bone loss and
response to therapy.
of Bone Density Tests are available. A few
tests use sound waves. Others use small
amounts of radiation to determine the
thickness or density of bones. Bone Density
Tests are simple, safe, and painless. And
most tests take just a few minutes.
referred to as T-scores, compare your bone
density with that of normal, young adult
women. A normal T-score is –1 or higher.
Bones weakened by osteoporosis have become
thin, making them more likely to break. If
your T-score is below normal, you may
benefit from therapy.
is a good way to help determine if you have
or are at risk for developing osteoporosis.
Ask your doctor if you should have a Bone
Density Test and whether a medication to
prevent or treat osteoporosis might be right
Who is at risk for
have gone through menopause are at risk.
Menopause usually begins when a woman is
about 50, though it can occur earlier–for
example, if a woman has surgery to remove
that may contribute to risk include:
family history of osteoporosis
thin or petite build
Caucasian or Asian descent (these groups
are at greater risk, although
osteoporosis can affect women of all
During or after menopause
Excess thyroid hormone
of physical activity
Inadequate calcium and vitamin D (e.g.,
little or no milk or dairy products in
Over time, as
your bones become thinner and weaker, you
Certain types of back pain
upper back that is curved forward
Breaking a bone in your hip, wrist, or
a key factor contributing to the development
of osteoporosis. Even if none of these other
factors applies to you, you may still have
or develop osteoporosis if you're a woman
bones can break.
In the early
stages of osteoporosis, you may have no
physical signs. However, as the disease
progresses, you could break a bone from a
minor injury, especially in the hip, wrist,
are weakened from osteoporosis are more
likely to break. A bad fall or excessive
strain on your back can increase your risk
for broken bones. This can lead to pain,
height loss, restricted mobility, or a
humped back (also known as "dowager’s
hump"). Along with these physical effects,
osteoporosis can lead to feelings of
helplessness, lack of confidence, or loss of
independence. But there are ways to combat
the effects of osteoporosis.
to having a Bone Density Test and knowing
your T-score, you can protect yourself from
the dangers of osteoporosis by taking these
plenty of exercise.
You can help
protect your bones against fractures by
exercising and doing other physical
activities. Exercises that increase muscle
strength and improve flexibility help
your diet has enough calcium and vitamin
needs calcium and vitamin D to keep your
bones strong. The best source of calcium is
food. If you can't get enough calcium from
food, you can take supplements.
accidents by living safely.
osteoporosis, you need to learn how to live
safely to prevent falls and back injury.
Make your home safe by getting rid of
hazards. Use caution when lifting, bending,
Bone Density Test.
You may not
know that your bones are getting weak. The
best way for your doctor to determine if you
have low bone density or osteoporosis, and
are at increased risk for breaking a bone,
is to have a Bone Density Test.
doctor whether a medication to prevent or
treat osteoporosis might be right for you.
should know about bone loss and
osteoporosis. Nearly one in every two women
over age 50 will have an
osteoporosis-related fracture in her
remaining lifetime. However, there are
things you can do throughout life to help
keep your bones strong.
exercise can help. And calcium with vitamin
D is important, but it often isn't enough.
Ask your doctor if you should have a Bone
Density Test, and about treatment options to
help keep your bones healthy and strong.