Osteoporosis is a disease where decreased bone strength increases the risk of a broken bone. It is the most common reason for fractures among old. Bones that commonly break include the back bones, the bones of the forearm, and the hip. Until fractures occur there are typically no symptoms. Bones may weaken to such a degree that a break may occur with minor stress or spontaneously. Chornic pain and a decreased ability to carry out normal activities may occur following a broken bone.
Osteoporosis may be due to lower than normal peak bone mass and greater than normal bone loss. Bone loss increases after menopause due to lower levels of estrogens. Osteoporosis may also occur due to a number of diseases or treatments including alcoholism, anorexia hyperthyroidism, surgical removal of the ovaries and kidney disease. Certain medications increase the rate of bone loss including some antiseizure medications chemotherapy, proton pump inhibitors, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and steroids Not enough exercise and smoking are also risk factors. Osteoporosis is defined as a bone density of 2.5 standard deviations below that of a young adult.This is typically measured by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry at the hip.
Prevention of osteoporosis includes a proper diet during childhood and efforts to avoid medications that cause the condition. Efforts to prevent broken bones in those with osteoporosis include a good diet, exercise, and fall prevention. Lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking and not drinking alcohol may help. Medication of the bisphosphonate type is useful in those with previous broken bones due to osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis becomes more common with age. It is more common in women than men. The word osteoporosis is from the Greek terms for "porous bones".