Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by a decrease in the density of bone, decreasing its strength and resulting in fragile bones. Osteoporosis literally leads to abnormally porous bone that is compressible, like a sponge. This disorder of the skeleton weakens the bone and results in frequent fractures (breaks) in the bones. Osteoporosis is most common in women after menopause, when it is called postmenopausal osteoporosis, but may also develop in men, and may occur in anyone in the presence of particular hormonal disorders.
Osteoporosis may significantly affect life expectancy and quality of life.
Normal bone is composed of protein, collagen, and calcium all of which give bone its strength. Bones that are affected by osteoporosis can break (fracture) with relatively minor injury that normally would not cause a bone to fracture. The spine, hips, ribs, and wrists are common areas of bone fractures from osteoporosis although osteoporosis-related fractures can occur in almost any skeletal bone.
Osteoporosis can be prevented with lifestyle changes and medication. Lifestyle change includes exercise and preventing falls; medication includes calcium, vitamin D, conjugated estrogens and several others. If you want to evaluate your risk factors for osteoporosis, you should visit your orthopedic physician or a gynecologist.