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Osteoporosis is the gradual reduction in bone density due to the loss of essential bone minerals, such as calcium. From the age of 35 onward bones slowly begin losing calcium in both men and women, but with the onset of menopause the loss of calcium is far greater in women. Some of this can be attributed to hormonal changes, as reductions in estrogen contribute to the loss of calcium. When this occurs, bones become frail and the risk of fracture is increased particularly in the spine, hip and wrist.

OSTEOPOROSIS: Some Basic Facts

  • Osteoporosis is a condition of low bone mass which can lead to life-threatening fractures.
  • Osteoporosis is a silent disease, sometimes going undetected for many years until a fracture occurs.
  • About 25 million Americans are at risk for fractures, primarily because of fragile bones from osteoporosis.
  • In the United States, nearly 1.5 million fractures occur each year, often with devastating consequences.
  • A 50 year-old woman has up to a 50 percent chance of at least one major osteoporotic fracture during her remaining life.
  • At least 20 percent of hip fracture patients die within six months from complications; more than 50 percent never return to independent living.

Find out more about osteoporosis by clicking on the topics below.

  What is Osteoporosis?  

  Who is at Risk?  

  Osteoporosis and Your Independence  

  Do You Have Osteoporosis?  

  Coping with Osteoporosis  

  What About Calcium?  

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Date of Last Update: 07/27/12