by Editorial Staff and Contributors
Throughout life, old bone is removed and new bone is added to your skeleton. After age 30, more bone is lost than replaced. If too much bone loss occurs, this may lead to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is more likely to occur if full bone mass was not achieved during your bone-building years.
Risk Factors TOP
Osteoporosis is more common in women than in men. Other factors that may increase your chance of developing osteoporosis include:
In most cases, people with osteoporosis remain symptom-free until there is a fracture. In those that do have symptoms, osteoporosis may cause:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:
Osteoporosis can be seen with bone mineral density (BMD) tests of the hip, spine, wrist, or other site. These may include:
The treatment and management of osteoporosis involves lifestyle changes and medications. Although osteoporosis is highly preventable, it cannot be cured. Treatment focuses on reducing the incidence of fractures and slowing bone loss.
Decrease your intake of alcohol. Eat a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is in:
Do not smoke. If you smoke, talk with your doctor about ways to quit.
Exercise improves bone health. It also increases muscle strength, coordination, and balance. Do weight-bearing and strength-training exercises for maximum benefit. Balance training may help prevent falls and fractures.
People who cannot eat enough calcium from food might want to take calcium supplements. Vitamin D and other supplements may also be recommended. Talk with your doctor before taking herbs or supplements.
Falls can increase the chance of fracture in someone with osteoporosis. Here are ways to prevent falls:
Your doctor may prescribe medications to help prevent bone loss, increase bone density, and reduce your risk of fractures. These may include:
Building strong bones throughout your early years is the best defense against osteoporosis. Getting enough calcium, vitamin D, and regular exercise can keep bones strong throughout life.
To help reduce your chance of developing osteoporosis, take these steps:
NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center
National Osteoporosis Foundation
Women's Health Matters
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Last reviewed June 2013 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 6/7/2013