What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis means porous bones. It is a progressive bone disease in which a loss of bone mass and density may potentially lead to fracture. It can affect all age groups and both males and females. Women are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis than men, mainly due to the rapid decline in oestrogen levels after the menopause.
Bone is a living tissue that is constantly being absorbed and rebuilt. As we get older more bone is naturally lost than is replaced. However In osteoporosis the bone mineral density is reduced even further. The structure of bone begins to deteriorate and the amount and variety of proteins in bone are altered. This causes bone to become more fragile and more at risk of fracture through a minor fall or bump. The spine, hip and wrist are most commonly involved.
What are the symptoms of osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is often referred to as the silent disease as it may not be diagnosed until a fracture has occurred. Fractures due to osteoporosis can lead to changes in posture (such as developing a stoop in your back), muscle weakness, loss of height and bone deformity of the spine.
Some people may experience pain in their bones and muscles, particularly in their backs. If you do experience any such symptoms and have some of the risk factors of osteoporosis it is important to talk to your GP.
The list of risk factors is extensive. Here are some of the more commonly associated risk factors: