Osteoporosis — literally meaning porous bone — is a chronic condition that impacts bone density. That’s why, at AOC, we create treatment plans designed to strengthen your bones and reduce the risk of fractures. Symptoms of different bone disorders can vary from person to person — ranging from silent to severe. We’ll provide diligent testing to help you get the answers you need.
Osteoporosis is a common condition where bones become weak, and it affects both men and women. Bone is living tissue that is in a constant state of regeneration. By their mid-30s, most people begin to lose more bone than can be replaced. As a result, bones become thinner and weaker in structure.
Osteoporosis is considered silent because there are typically no symptoms. It may come to your attention only after you break a bone. When you have this condition, a fracture can occur even after a minor injury — such as a fall. The most common fractures occur at the spine, wrist, and hip.
The main goal of treating osteoporosis is to prevent such fractures in the first place. If you already have osteoporosis, new medications are available to slow or even stop the bones from getting weaker. As a result, they decrease the chance of experiencing a fracture.
As you age, the inside of your bones become porous from a loss of calcium. This is called losing bone mass. Osteopenia refers to bone mass that is lower than normal peak mass but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis.
Osteopenia is not a disease, but if you meet the criteria for osteopenia, you are at higher risk for developing osteoporosis. Some people who have osteopenia may not have bone loss. They may just naturally have a lower bone mass. Osteopenia may also be the result of one or more other conditions, disease processes, or treatments.
Women are far more likely to develop osteoporosis than men. This is because women have a lower peak mass and because the loss of bone mass speeds up as hormonal changes take place at the time of menopause.
Postmenopausal osteoporosis is the direct relationship between the lack of estrogen after menopause and the development of osteoporosis. After menopause, bone resorption overtakes the building of new bone.
Early menopause — before age 45 — and any long phases in which the woman has low hormone levels and no or infrequent menstrual periods can cause loss of bone mass. Women’s lighter, thinner bones and longer life spans are some of the reasons why they are at high risk for osteoporosis.
Heredity is one of the most important risk factors for osteoporosis. If your parents or grandparents have had any signs of osteoporosis, such as a fractured hip after a minor fall, you may be at greater risk of developing the disease.
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AOC is committed to educating our patients about their condition and any other rheumatic disorders that may be impacting your life. That’s why we provide a variety of resources to keep you informed. Still have questions? Our experts are available to answer them.