Osteoporosis - overview

Thin bones; Low bone density; Metabolic bone disease; Hip fracture - osteoporosis; Compression fracture - osteoporosis; Wrist fracture - osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break (fracture).

Compression fracture

In a compression fracture the body of the bone tissue of the vertebra collapses. This can occur because of trauma or a disease process such as osteoporosis or a tumor.

Bone density scan

A bone density scan measures the density of bone in a person. The lower the density of a bone the higher the risk of fractures. A bone scan, along with a patient's medical history, is a useful aid in evaluating the probability of a fracture and whether any preventative treatment is needed. A bone density scan has the advantage of being painless and exposing the patient to only a small amount of radiation.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by progressive loss of bone density, thinning of bone tissue and increased vulnerability to fractures. Osteoporosis may result from disease, dietary or hormonal deficiency or advanced age. Regular exercise and vitamin and mineral supplements can reduce and even reverse loss of bone density.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by progressive loss of bone density, thinning of bone tissue and increased vulnerability to fractures. Osteoporosis may result from disease, dietary or hormonal deficiency or advanced age. Regular exercise and vitamin and mineral supplements can reduce and even reverse loss of bone density.

Hip fracture

Hip fractures occur as a result of major or minor trauma. In elderly patients with bones weakened by osteoporosis, relatively little trauma, even walking, may result in a hip fracture.

Vitamin D source

Like most vitamins, vitamin D may be obtained in the recommended amount with a well-balanced diet, including some enriched or fortified foods. In addition, the body manufactures vitamin D when exposed to sunshine, and it is recommended people get 10 to 15 minutes of sunshine 3 times a week.

Calcium benefit

Calcium requires adequate vitamin D in order to be absorbed by the body. In the United States, many food sources of calcium such as milk are fortified with vitamin D.

Calcium source

Getting enough calcium to keep bones from thinning throughout a person's life may be made more difficult if that person has lactose intolerance or another reason, such as a tendency toward kidney stones, for avoiding calcium-rich food sources. Calcium deficiency also effects the heart and circulatory system, as well as the secretion of essential hormones. There are many ways to supplement calcium, including a growing number of fortified foods.

Bone-building exercise

Exercise plays an important role in the retention of bone density in the aging person. Studies show that exercises requiring muscles to pull on bones cause the bones to retain and possibly gain density.

Changes in spine with age

The spine weakens with age, becoming more curved and more fragile.

Causes

Symptoms

Exams and Tests

Treatment

Outlook (Prognosis)

Prevention