Osteoporosis, which means “porous bone“, is a disease in which the bones gradually become weak and brittle. That often results in broken bones, or fractures especially of the hip, wrist, and spine, even from simple activities like lifting a chair or bending over.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about 10 million Americans have osteoporosis. Another 18 million have low bone mass and are at an increased risk for the disease. Osteoporosis is common among the elderly, but the disease can strike at any age. Although it is more common in older women, men can also have osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is sometimes considered a “silent disease” because bone loss happens without symptoms. In fact, many people don’t know they have the disease until they break a bone. Osteoporosis can also cause a vertebra (one of the 33 bony segments that form the spine) to collapse. But it’s never too late or too early to do something about osteoporosis. You can take steps to keep bones strong and healthy throughout life.