Bone is a living organ that is in a constant cycle of renewal and removal. During the aging process, bone replacement (growth) slows down while bone removal (resorption) accelerates. This is particularly true for women during and after menopause.2
Osteoporosis is a progressive disease that occurs when new bone creation is unable to keep up with bone loss.3 This causes bones to become porous and brittle, increasing the risk of fractures. Typically asymptomatic or “silent,” the condition is commonly not detected until the occurrence of a fracture.
Osteoporosis can be caused by various factors. The most common cause is the lack of estrogen and testosterone hormones.4 Other factors include lack of dietary calcium and vitamin D, smoking, and certain medical conditions such as diabetes.2 Low bone mass affects about half of Americans over 50, with the majority of them being women.
Diagnosis is achieved primarily through the use of a Bone Mineral Density assessment, also known as a DEXA (or DXA) scan or a bone density scan.
Osteoporotic fractures typically occur in the hip, spine, or wrist. While not a direct cause of death, fractures in the hip and spine severely limit independence, and are associated with a mortality rate of 33% and 20% after one year for men and women, respectively.5