What Causes It?

Common causes of osteoporosis include age-related bone loss (primary osteoporosis), as well as smoking, alcohol abuse, long-term corticosteroid use, and certain diseases (secondary osteoporosis). It's thought that race and ethnicity may also play a role in developing osteoporosis, but more research is needed to determine the connection.
(Click Causes of Osteoporosis for more information.)

Making a Diagnosis

Because routine x-rays can't detect osteoporosis until it's advanced, the most common test used for diagnosing osteoporosis is a bone mineral density test known as dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA scan). In addition to diagnosing osteoporosis, this test can predict your likelihood of fractures and determine your rate of bone loss, among other things.
(Click Diagnosing Osteoporosis for more information.)

How Is It Treated?

Treatment for osteoporosis is often three-fold, concentrating on the areas of exercise, nutrition, and several different osteoporosis medications. By including these three things in your osteoporosis treatment plan, you may slow down bone loss associated with the disease.
(Click Osteoporosis Treatment for more information on treatments for osteoporosis.)

Statistics on Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is responsible for more than 1.5 million fractures annually, including:
  • 300,000 hip fractures
  • 700,000 vertebral (spinal) fractures
  • 250,000 wrist fractures
  • More than 300,000 fractures in other bones.
The rate of hip fractures is two to three times higher in women than in men; however, the one-year mortality rate following a hip fracture is nearly twice as high for men as for women (that is, twice as many men die during the first year after a hip fracture).
White women who are age 65 or older have twice the incidence of fractures as African-American women.
(Click Osteoporosis Statistics for more information.)
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Information on Osteoporosis

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