Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones that affects mostly older women and weakens bones, making them more susceptible to breaking. When bones break from osteoporosis, serious health issues and disability can occur. Steps should be taken at an early age and continued over a lifetime to build bone mass and prevent bone loss.
Most common reasons for bone loss
- Not getting enough calcium. Your body uses calcium for a number of reasons from building health bones and teeth to regulating your heart’s rhythm. Since your body cannot produce it, all your calcium needs must be met by foods you eat or drink (or supplements). If you do not consume the amount you need each day, your body will rob calcium from your bones.
- Post-menopause. As you age, your body’s bone production slows down and is not able to keep up with your body’s needs. As a result, your body will take calcium from your bones, causing them to lose density. After menopause, this process speeds up and can lead to weak, brittle bones.
Symptoms of osteoporosis may not appear until you break or fracture a bone. While fractures can happen with any bone, they most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or vertebrae (spine). When you have osteoporosis, a fracture in the vertebrae can happen simply by climbing stairs, lifting objects or bending forward.
Fractures in the vertebrae can cause it to collapse and bend forward, resulting in any or all of the following symptoms:
- Sloping shoulders
- Curve in the back
- Height loss
- Back pain
- Hunched posture
Learn more at Womenshealth.gov - Osteoporosis.