What is Osteoporosis?
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Osteoporosis is a disease in which the density and quality ofbone are reduced, leading to weakness of the skeleton and increased riskof fracture, particularly of the spine, wrist, hip, pelvis and upper arm.Osteoporosis and associated fractures are an important cause of mortalityand morbidity.
In many affected people, bone loss is gradual and without warning signsuntil the disease is advanced. Osteoporosis is also known as "thesilent crippler" because a person usually doesn't know they haveit until it's too late. Unfortunately, in many cases, the first real "symptom"is a broken bone. Loss of height – with gradual curvature of theback (caused by vertebral compression fractures) may be the only physicalsign of osteoporosis.
In the United States, osteoporosis causes more than 1.5 million fracturesevery year — most of them in the spine, hip or wrist. And althoughit's often thought of as a women's disease, osteoporosis affects manymen as well. About 8 million American women and 2 million American menhave osteoporosis, and nearly 18 million more Americans may have low bonedensity. Even children aren't immune.