Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones become brittle. The result may be a fracture that can be dangerous or even fatal. Fractures in people with osteoporosis can occur with even minor trauma. More than one in two women and one in four men will experience a fracture due to osteoporosis. Symptoms of osteoporosis can range from sharp and painful fractures to backache and a reduced height.
If you are at risk for osteoporosis, you need to change your lifestyle. You should start an exercise program at a young age and make sure you get enough calcium. Try weight bearing exercises such as jogging and walking. You should also avoid smoking and alcohol.
Women should consult their physicians if they have signs of osteoporosis. Women may experience osteoporosis at a much younger age than men due to the onset of menopause. In the United States, menopause occurs at around age 51, though some women may experience it earlier. Women who have no menstrual periods for 12 months are said to be postmenopausal. The good news is that there are many ways to prevent osteoporosis and maintain bone health.
A doctor may perform a bone density test to determine if a patient is at risk. This test is called a “Fracture Risk Assessment Tool” (FRAX). It measures bone density in the hips, spine, and other bones. This test helps determine the severity of osteoporosis and how much bone mass you have lost.