Osteoporosis is a degenerative disease that causes a reduction in bone density, or thinning of the bones, resulting in an increased risk for bone weakness, fractures, and breaks. Though commonly associated with the elderly, there are a number of factors related genetics, disease, nutrition, and lifestyle that can spur its onset in younger populations. These include hormonal changes, hypothyroidism, kidney disease, and alcoholism, as well as certain therapies such as antiseizure medications, chemotherapy, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), steroids, and proton pump inhibitors.

People with osteoporosis are at a higher risk for injury during accidents and falls due their bones being more brittle. Fractures and breakage can happen anywhere, but most commonly in the back, forearm, and hip. In advanced cases, everyday activities may leave a person susceptible to bone injury such as simple coughing, sneezing, sitting, or the hugging of a loved one.

A common disease affecting nearly 54 million Americans, some studies show that as many as one in two women and one in four men over the age of 50 will sustain a bone fracture or injury due to osteoporosis.

Animated video: Osteoporosis


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