URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/osteoporosis.html

Osteoporosis

Summary

Osteoporosis is a disease that thins and weakens the bones. Your bones become fragile and break easily, especially the bones in the hip, spine, and wrist. In the United States, millions of people either already have osteoporosis or are at high risk due to low bone mass.

Anyone can develop osteoporosis, but it is more common in older women. Risk factors include

  • Getting older
  • Being small and thin
  • Having a family history of osteoporosis
  • Taking certain medicines
  • Being a white or Asian woman
  • Having low bone density

Osteoporosis is a silent disease. You might not know you have it until you break a bone. A bone mineral density test is the best way to check your bone health.

To keep bones strong, eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, exercise, and do not smoke. If needed, medicines can also help. It is also important to try to avoid falling down. Falls are the number one cause of fractures in older adults.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

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Reference Desk

  • Glossary From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)
  • What Is Bone? From the National Institutes of Health Easy-to-Read (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)

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