Throughout your lifetime, your body constantly breaks down and reabsorbs old bone tissue while creating new tissue to replace it. Until about age 30, you make more bone than you lose. During your fourth decade, however, the balance switches, and gradually over the years, your skeleton can lose so much tissue that your bones become porous, weak, and fracture prone: this is osteoporosis. It’s a serious condition with significant consequences for your health.

About 1.5 million osteoporotic fractures are diagnosed and treated in the U.S. each year, at a cost of millions of healthcare dollars. The risk of dying within one year after a hip fracture ranges from 12 to 37 percent. In the United States, more than 40 million people either already have osteoporosis or are at high risk for it due to low bone mass. But there is much we can do to prevent its occurrence and even to limit the damage it does once it begins.

Studies show, for example, that eating a well-balanced nutritious diet, supplementing with calcium and vitamin D in dosages appropriate to your age, and maintaining a regular exercise program can help slow the progression of bone loss over time. Medical science also provides medications that can effectively treat this condition. But to treat it, you must know you have it. Fortunately, screening for osteoporosis is quick, easy, and pain free and can be done as an outpatient in a doctor’s office. 

Learn More
Take a look at our Infoaging Guide to Osteoporosis.

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