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Understanding the Causes & Effects of Osteoporosis

At 30 years old, our bones are at their strongest. However, they start to lose density as we get older. Weakening of the bones is a condition known as osteoporosis.

In the U.S., there are over 10 million people suffering from “porous bones.” In addition, more than half of American women aged 50 and older will experience an osteoporosis-related fracture.

Osteoporosis can cause massive interference in everyday life. Patients become inactive or unable to perform normal day-to-day tasks as this bone condition worsens. There is also the increased risk of fracture, which may result from balance issues and accidental falls.

A person may not realize he or she has osteoporosis. From the outside, significant bone loss is not noticeable. The discovery usually occurs when he or she suffers a fracture. Osteoporosis also becomes apparent when there is a considerable change in posture. Back pain is also a common indicator that something isn’t right with the vertebrae.

Age is the most common risk-contributing factor for osteoporosis. As we grow older, we lose bone density faster than our bodies can replace it. The production of calcium phosphate and collagen, which are essential for our skeletal framework, slows down every year after age 30.

Women, however, face a greater challenge as their bone density significantly declines five years after menopause. Their bones are also generally thinner compared to men; thus, they are more susceptible to rapid bone density decrease.

Family history and ethnicity also are a factor in the development of osteoporosis. Asians and Caucasians have a higher risk compared to Hispanics and African-Americans. Other contributing factors for osteoporosis include rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, hormonal problems and inflammatory bowel disease.

Osteoporosis and fractures are closely linked. Did you know this bone disorder accounts for about 1.5 million cases of fracture each year? The most common variety is spinal compression fractures; this condition involves collapse of the vertebrae, changing the structure of the spine.

Hip fractures are also commonly associated with osteoporosis; this type of fracture is one of the leading causes of mobility challenges. Hip fractures also increase mortality risk. Other fractures associated with osteoporosis involve the wrist and pelvic bones.

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