Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones where you lose too much bone; make too little bone or both. As a result, your bones become weak and may break from a minor fall, or in more serious cases, from simple actions like bumping into furniture.
Who Gets Osteoporosis?
It is estimated that 52 million people in the United States have osteoporosis or are at risk for developing osteoporosis. Studies suggest that approximately one in two women and up to one in four men age 50 and over will break a bone due to osteoporosis. Broken bones due to osteoporosis are most likely to occur in the hip, spine and wrist, but other bones can also break.
What Causes Osteoporosis?
Experts now believe that a combination of causes is often to blame for bone loss. Some of these causes can be controlled, while others cannot.
Unavoidable risk factors for developing osteoporosis include:
- Gender: Women get osteoporosis more often than men.
- Age: As age increases, the risk of osteoporosis also increases.
- Body size: Patients who are smaller in size and have a lower body weight are at higher risk for osteoporosis.
- Ethnicity: Caucasian and Asian women are at highest risk. Black and Hispanic women have a lower risk.
- Family history: Osteoporosis tends to run in families. If a family member has osteoporosis, there is a greater chance that you will too.