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Osteoporosis (Condition)

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis, or porous bone, is a disease in which there is a loss of bone mass and destruction of bone tissue. This process causes weakening of the bones and makes them more likely to break. The bones most often affected are the hips, spine, and wrists.

Other risk factors for osteoporosis:

Although the exact medical cause for osteoporosis is unknown, a number of factors contribute to osteoporosis, including the following:

• aging
Bones become less dense and weaker with age.
• race
Caucasian and Asian women are most at risk, although all races may develop the disease.
• body weight
Obesity is associated with a higher bone mass, therefore people who weigh less and have less muscle are more at risk for developing osteoporosis.
• lifestyle factors
The following lifestyle factors may increase a person’s risk of osteoporosis:
o physical inactivity
o caffeine
o excessive alcohol use
o smoking
o dietary calcium and vitamin D deficiency
• certain medications
• family history of bone disease
In 2006, the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) reviewed and updated its guidelines on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Among its updated recommendations, NAMS suggests that women’s lifestyle practices should be reviewed regularly by their physicians, and that practices that help to reduce the risk for osteoporosis should be encouraged. Also, NAMS recommends that a woman’s risk for falls should be evaluated at least once a year after menopause has occurred. An additional recommendation is that a woman’s height and weight should be measured annually, and she should be assessed for kyphoses and back pain.

Treatment for osteoporosis:

Specific treatment for osteoporosis will be determined by your physician based on:

• your age, overall health, and medical history
• extent of the disease
• your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
• expectations for the course of the disease
• your opinion or preference