Osteoporosis, a disease you cannot feel; you can only test for it. Literally, the term osteoporosis means “porous bone”. It is a very common condition, affecting more than 40 million people in the United States.

Osteoporosis is defined by a reduction in bone mass, bone quality or the presence of a fragility fracture. It contributes to nearly 1.5 million fractures per year in the US.

One out of every two women will experience an osteoporotic fracture in her lifetime. For men, the number is one in four. Common fracture sites include the hip, spine, wrist and rib. For anyone with an osteoporotic fracture, the one year mortality approaches 20%

Bone is a living tissue balanced by the actions of osteoblasts that lay down new bone and osteoclasts responsible for bone resorption. Bone mineral density is a measure of the adequacy of mineralization of bone. Peak bone mass occurs before age 30. The gold standard test is a DEXA bone densitomitry scan.

Recent scientific information implicates chronic inflammation, oxidative cell damage and advanced glycosalated end products (AGE’s) as contributors to the development of osteoporosis. Bone loss is also correlated with vasclar calcifications and the development of cardiovascular disease.

Risk factors for the development of osteoporosis include:

  • low estrogen in women and low testosterone in men
  • low body weight (<127 lbs)
  • smoking
  • lack of exercise
  • excessive alcohol
  • deficiency in calcium and/or vitamin D
  • excess phosporous intake (soda)
  • high protein diet (acidic)
  • diabetes, thyroid disease, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis

To reduce your risk of osteoporosis be sure to eat a healthy diet that includes colorful fruits and vegetables, regularly engage in aerobic and resistance exercise, take adequate calcium, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid supplements.

Every woman over 40 and man over 50 should consider having their bone mineral density checked. Preventing osteoporosis is better than treating it; especially after an osteoporotic fracture.