Medical Illustrations

Picture of Osteoporosis Progression

Picture of Osteoporosis Progression

Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones and increases the risk of fractures. Osteoporosis becomes more common with age. About half of all women and one quarter of men over the age of 50 are affected by the condition.

Modifiable and nonmodifiable risk factors influence the risk of developing osteoporosis. Nonmodifiable risk factors include female gender, age, having a small, thin frame, genetic predisposition, and Caucasian and Asian heritage.

Smoking, drinking, anorexia, low hormone levels (estrogen or testosterone), insufficient intake of calcium and vitamin D, and physical inactivity are modifiable risk factors for osteoporosis. Certain medications may increase the risk of osteoporosis. If that is the case, altering the dose or switching to a new medication may help.

Recommendations for avoiding osteoporosis include getting sufficient calcium, vitamin D, and exercise and not smoking or drinking excessively. The National Academy of Sciences recommends that women aged 51 to 70 consume 1,200 mg of calcium and 600 IU of vitamin D daily.

Image Source: MedicineNet, Inc.

Text Reference: NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center: "What Is Osteoporosis?"