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What is Osteoporosis?

Learn what osteoporosis is and why women of all ages should know about how to prevent it.

By
Sanaz Majd, MD,
October 4, 2010

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Today I want to talk about a condition every woman—regardless of her age—should be aware of: osteoporosis. So what is osteoporosis?

What Is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is the loss of bone mass causing fragile bones. We all slowly lose some bone mass as we age, but those with osteoporosis tend to lose more than what is considered normal. Because the bone is not as dense, it becomes weaker and may more easily fracture. Bone density is closely related to the levels of estrogen hormone, the female hormone that declines as women age. Therefore, osteoporosis tends to be much more common in women who have already gone through menopause, because they are no longer producing as much estrogen. Yes, for you girls who aren’t there yet, it’s just another health problem to look forward to after your periods stop. 

What Are the Symptoms of Osteoporosis?

Many patients erroneously believe that bone loss causes actual pain, but it doesn’t. With only one exception: if you break a bone. Osteoporosis wouldn’t be too big of a deal, if it wasn’t for the increased risk of bone fractures. Women with osteoporosis tend to break their bones a lot more easily with more minor traumas that come from things like hitting your leg against the coffee table or gently falling down after you trip. And the reason that fractures are a big deal is because they cause pain and suffering—and they may lead to other risky complications, like infections or blood clots. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

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