Osteoporosis, or porous bone, is a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, leading to bone fragility and an increased risk of fractures of the hip, spine, and wrist. Men as well as women are affected by osteoporosis, a disease that can be prevented and treated. In the United States, more than 53 million people either already have osteoporosis or are at high risk due to low bone mass.
Bone is living, growing tissue. It is made mostly of collagen, a protein that provides a soft framework, and calcium phosphate, a mineral that adds strength and hardens the framework. This combination of collagen and calcium makes bone both flexible and strong, which in turn helps bone to withstand stress. More than 99 percent of the body’s calcium is contained in the bones and teeth. The remaining 1 percent is found in the blood. Throughout one’s lifetime, old bone is removed and new bone is added to the skeleton. During childhood and teenage years, new bone is added faster than old bone is removed. As a result, bones become larger, heavier, and denser. Bone formation outpaces resorption until peak bone mass (maximum bone density and strength) is reached, typically by the late 20s. After that time, bone resorption slowly begins to exceed bone formation.
For women, bone loss is fastest in the first few years after menopause, and it continues into the postmenopausal years. Osteoporosis – which mainly affects women but may also affect men – will develop when bone loss occurs too quickly or when bone formation occurs too slowly. Osteoporosis is more likely to develop if you did not reach optimal peak bone mass during your bone-building years.
Once your bones have been weakened by osteoporosis, you might have signs and symptoms that include:
The leading cause of osteoporosis is a lack of certain hormones, particularly estrogen in women and androgen in men. Women, especially those older than 60 years of age, are frequently diagnosed with the disease.
Menopause is accompanied by lower estrogen levels and increases a woman's risk for osteoporosis.
Lack of exercise, Diet low in calcium, Poor nutrition and poor general health, especially associated with chronic inflammation or bowel disease, Malabsorption from bowel diseases, such as celiac sprue that can be associated with skin diseases, such as dermatitis herpetiformis, Low estrogen levels in women (which may occur in menopause or with early surgical removal of both ovaries), Low testosterone levels in men (hypogonadism), Chemotherapy that can cause early menopause due to its toxic effects on the ovaries
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