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Source: National Osteoporosis Foundation
Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones. It happens when you lose too much bone, make too little bone or both. As a result, bones become weak and can break from a minor fall or, in serious cases, even from simple actions, like sneezing or bumping into furniture.
Osteoporosis means "porous bone." If you have the disease your bones have lost density or mass and that the structure of your bone tissue has become abnormal. As your bones become less dense, they also become weaker and more likely to break. If you're age 50 or older and have broken a bone, talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider and ask if you should have a bone density test..
Osteoporosis Is Common
About 10 million Americans have osteoporosis. About 34 million are at risk for the disease. Estimates suggest that about half of all women older than 50, and up to one in four men, will break a bone because of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis Is Serious
Breaking a bone is a serious complication of osteoporosis, especially when you're older. Broken bones due to osteoporosis are most likely to occur in the hip, spine and wrist, but other bones can break too. With osteoporosis some people lose height and become shorter. It can also affect your posture, causing you to become stooped or hunched. This happens when the bones of the spine, called vertebrae, begin to break or collapse.
Osteoporosis Is Costly
Osteoporosis is responsible for two million broken bones and $19 billion in related costs every year. By 2025, experts predict that osteoporosis will be responsible for approximately three million fractures and $25.3 billion in costs each year.
Osteoporosis Can Sneak up on You
It is often called the "silent disease," because you could have it now or be at-risk without even realizing it. You can't feel your bones becoming weaker. Breaking a bone is often the first clue that you have osteoporosis or you may notice that you are getting shorter or your upper back is curving forward. If you are experiencing height loss or your spine is curving, talk to a doctor or healthcare professional right away as the disease may be advanced.