What is osteoporosis?

From birth onward, your bones are constantly renewing themselves. Slowly but steadily, old bone is removed and new bone is formed.

With advancing age, particularly after menopause, old bone continues to be removed, but new bone formation starts to lag behind. This results in a gradual and steady decrease in the amount of bone material. This decrease may lead to the condition called osteoporosis, or “porous bones”. As bone density decreases, the bones become weaker and more likely to break (fracture).

Osteoporotic fractures occur mainly at the wrist, spine, and hip. However, hip fractures are the most significant problem because of the high cost of treatment. If you fracture your hip, you will almost always be hospitalized, may need a hip replacement, and may need help during your recovery and rehabilitation because it will be harder for you to walk.

“Osteoporosis is a disease characterised by low bone mass and microarchitectural deterioration of bone tissue with a consequent increase in bone fragility and susceptibility to fracture”. (Consensus development congress)

“Osteoporosis is a bone mineral density which is 2.5 standard deviations below the peak bone mass expected in normal healthy young women”. (World Health Organisation)

What are the effects of osteoporosis?

Bone fragility can lead to an increase in the risk of fractures, particularly at the wrist, the spine, and the hip. Although all fractures cause pain, hip fracture is the most serious and always requires hospitalization. A hip replacement operation may also be necessary. A high percentage of hip fracture patients die, while others require full time care due to lack of mobility. Osteoporosis fractures of the spine can lead to pain and also posture problems.