It is the most common type of bone disease. Osteoporosis occurs when the body fails to form enough new bone, when too much old bone is reabsorbed by the body, or both.
Listen to Dr. Carolyn O'Connor talk about osteoporosis and its treatment.
Calcium and phosphate are two minerals that are essential for normal bone formation. Throughout youth, your body uses these minerals to produce bones. If you do not get enough calcium, or if your body does not absorb enough calcium from the diet, bone production and bone tissues may suffer.
As you age, calcium and phosphate may be reabsorbed back into the body from the bones, which makes the bone tissue weaker. This can result in brittle, fragile bones that are more prone to fractures, even without injury.
Usually, the loss occurs gradually over years. Many times, a person will have a fracture before becoming aware that the disease is present. By the time a fracture occurs, the disease is in its advanced stages and damage is severe.
The leading causes of osteoporosis are a lack of exercise, lack of vitamin D and calcium, and also a drop in estrogen in women at the time of menopause. Women over age 50 have a higher risk for osteoporosis.
The goals of osteoporosis treatment are to:
- Slow down or stop bone loss
- Prevent bone fractures with calcium, vitamin D, and if needed, medicines that strengthen bone
- Minimize the risk of falls that might cause fractures
There are several different treatments for osteoporosis, including lifestyle changes and a variety of medications.
Your doctor will recommend a course of treatment following testing for osteoporosis. Lifestyle changes may include maintaining a healthy diet and an exercise routine, as well as stopping unhealthy habits such as smoking and decreasing any alcohol intake.
Osteoporosis and Bone Health Physicians
Renée Amori, MD
Endocrinology and Bone Health
Carolyn O'Connor, MD
Bone Health, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Osteoporosis, and Rheumatology