What is Osteoporosis?

By Barry Olsen

A medical condition resulting in the loss of bone density, which causes the bone to lose its strength and can lead to fragile, brittle bones that can fracture. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies osteoporosis as bone mineral density that is 2.5 standard deviations or more below the peak bone mass of average young, healthy adults.

Osteoporosis-bone-image
This disease literally causes the bone to become porous like a sponge. The areas most commonly affected are the spine, hips, ribs and wrists, although osteoporosis-related fractures can occur in almost any skeletal bone. Researchers estimate that 1 out of every 5 women over the age of 50 already have osteoporosis. Women are more commonly affected than men with this condition.

Ten million Americans already have the disease. About 34 million people are at risk according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
 
Risk factors include, but are  not limited to:
 - Advanced age, both male and female.
 - Gender, Caucasian or Asian female
 - Petite frame (less than 127 pounds)
 - Tobacco smoking, excessive caffeine intake, alcoholism
 - Sedentary lifestyle
 
It is a good idea to check with your health care provider about steps you can take to prevent and decrease your chances of pain and decreased function from this disease. There are specific exercises and diet that can assist you in improving your bone health.