Osteoporosis is the most common type of bone disease.
Because of osteoporosis about half of all women over the age of 50 will have a fracture of the hip, wrist, or vertebra (bone of the spine) during their lifetime.
Bone is living tissue. Existing bone is constantly being replaced by new bone. Osteoporosis occurs when the body fails to form enough new bone, when too much existing bone is reabsorbed by the body, or both.
Calcium is one of the important minerals needed for bones to form. If you do not get enough calcium and vitamin D, or your body does not absorb enough calcium from your diet, your bones may become brittle and more likely to fracture.
Sometimes bone loss occurs without any cause. Caucasian women are more likely to have bone loss. Sometimes the tendency to have bone loss and thin bones is passed down through families.
A drop in estrogen in women at the time of menopause and a drop in testosterone in men is a leading cause of bone loss. Other causes of bone loss include:
- Being confined to a bed
- Certain medical conditions
- Taking certain medicines
Other risk factors include:
- Absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea) for long periods of time
- A family history of osteoporosis
- Drinking a large amount of alcohol
- Low body weight