Osteoporosis is a medical term for significant bone loss that puts the bone at risk for fracture. Our bones are constantly being formed and broken down. It is a natural process that keeps our bones healthy. Sometime in our early 20’s our bones reach their peak bone mass. In a sense they are the “strongest” they are going to be in our lifetime. Slowly, as we age, we lose bone mass. This loss can be accelerated by different factors. The most common is the hormonal changes associated with aging in both men and woman. The sex hormones play an important role in keeping our bones strong. Certain medications and some medical conditions are also associated with osteoporosis. Some factors such as your family history cannot be changed. Life style influences such as tobacco use, calcium and vitamin D intake, and weight-bearing exercise are within your control.
A safe, easy screening method exists for osteoporosis and many people are screened each year. Treatment for bone loss includes lifestyle changes to insure adequate calcium and vitamin D intake and weight bearing exercise as these build bone. It also includes smoking cessation, as tobacco use is a risk factor for osteoporosis. Another important treatment intervention is fall prevention. A bone can’t break if you don’t fall. Optimizing treatment for any medical conditions that contribute to osteoporosis is also important. Finally, there are medicines to treat osteoporosis. This is where you will need to consult your health care provider regarding the risks and benefits of these medications. The medications have been shown to increase bone density on the bone density scan, but using them is not a guarantee that you will not fracture a bone. For more information about osteoporosis see