Understanding Osteoporosis

 

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become thin, weak, and easy to break or fracture.

Osteoporotic fractures are more common in women than stroke, heart attack, and breast cancer combined.

Normal bone is dense and strong.

Osteoporotic bone has thinned out.

"Osteo" means bone, "porosis" means porous.

Symptoms of osteoporosis include:
  • Unexplained back pain
  • Height loss
  • Humped back
  • Limited mobility
  • Broken bones of the hip, spine, and wrist
Simplified National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) guidelines for bone density testing and treatment:

Testing

  • All women over age 65
  • All postmenopausal women under age 65 with one or more risk factors*
  • Ask your doctor if testing is right for you

Treatment

  • Bone density "T-score" below -2.0 without other risk factors
  • Bone density below -1.5 with other risk factors*
*Selected risk factors include: early menopause, thin build, Caucasian or Asian descent, personal or family history of fracture, smoking, medications such as steroids, low calcium intake
  • Ask your doctor whether a medication to prevent or treat postmenopausal osteoporosis might be right for you
Other steps to keep bones as strong and healthy as possible.
  • Get plenty of exercise
  • Make sure your diet has enough calcium and vitamin D intake