Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones. It happens when you lose too much bone, make too little bone or both. As a result, bones become weak and can break from a minor fall or, in serious cases, even from simple actions, like sneezing or bumping into furniture.
Some people think of bones as hard and lifeless. But, your bones are actually living, growing tissue. Your bones are made up of three major components that make them both flexible and strong.
There are a variety of factors that can put you at risk for developing osteoporosis. These include both controllable and uncontrollable factors. It is important to discuss your risk factors with your healthcare provider. Together, you can develop a plan to protect your bones.
Millions of Americans – 44 million to be exact – have low bone density or osteoporosis. In fact, about one in two women and up to one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. By 2020, half of all Americans over age 50 are expected to have low bone density or osteoporosis.
Many health problems can increase your chance of getting osteoporosis. Ask your healthcare provider if you have any diseases or conditions that can cause bone loss. If you do, it’s important to take action to keep your bones healthy. In some cases, when you treat a health problem that causes bone loss, you can improve your bone health.
Some medicines can be harmful to your bones, even if you need to take these medicines for another condition. Bone loss is usually greater if you take them in high doses or for a long time. It’s important to talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of any medicines you take and about how they may affect your bones. Do not stop any treatment or change the dose of your medicines unless your healthcare provider says it’s safe to do so.