Osteoporosis is a silent condition in which bones become porous and weak. Progressive and potentially debilitating, it is characterized by low and decreasing bone mass, resulting in bones that are prone to fracture. The condition can progress for many years without any symptoms until a fracture occurs. Approximately 50 percent of women over the age of 50 have osteoporosis and are at risk for an osteoporosis-related fracture, usually of the wrist, ribs, hip or spine. Approximately 24 percent of women with hip fractures die of medical complications related to the fracture within one year, and 25 percent of women with hip fractures never regain their independence. Detection is essential to manage osteoporosis. Take this short quiz to discover if you or someone you know is at risk for this condition.
Many factors contribute to the development of osteoporosis. After age 30, bone mass steadily declines and bones become naturally weaker with age. The leading cause of osteoporosis in women is estrogen deficiency; however, preventative measures can inhibit or retard its onset. The following list offers suggestions that can minimize or prevent the risk of osteoporosis:
Although there is no cure for osteoporosis, a variety of medications have been shown to effectively slow the rate of bone mineral loss. These include estrogen replacement therapy, bisphosphonates (Fosamax®), Calcitonin (Miacalcin®, Calcimar®) and selective estrogen receptor modulators or SERM (Evista?). For more information on osteoporosis and bone densitometry testing visit these sites:
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