What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is an age-related disorder that causes the gradual loss of bone density and strength.

Osteoporosis is a silent disease, as you may not realise you have decreased bone strength until you actually break a bone.

Bone is made up of a framework in which phosphorus and calcium are deposited. It is living tissue which constantly remodels itself to adapt to the body’s needs.

Hormones determine the action of the remodelling cells and these levels vary at different stages in life.

During childhood and adolescence these hormones cause more bone to be built than broken down and bone mass reaches its peak at about 20 years of age. As we get older the rate at which we dismantle bone overtakes the rate at which we produce it.

Osteoporosis is diagnosed when bone becomes porous and fractures easily. At this point bones are too brittle to cope with the strains of everyday life, and hips, wrist, and spines are at particular risk, especially in the case of a fall.

Information sourced from International Osteoporosis Foundation (www.iofbonehealth.org).org and National Osteoporosis Foundation South Africa (www.osteoporosis.org.za).

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