Osteoporosis is a condition of decreased bone mass. This leads to fragile bones which are at an increased risk for fractures. In fact, it will take much less stress to an osteoporotic bone to cause it to fracture. The term "porosis" means spongy, which describes the appearance of osteoporosis bones when they are broken in half and the inside is examined. Osteoporosis or porous bone, is a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, leading to bone fragility and an increased susceptibility to fractures of the hip, spine, and wrist.
Osteoporosis is a major public heath treat for more than 28 million Americans, 80 percent of whom are women. In the U.S. today, 10 million individuals already have the diesease and 18 million more have low bone mass placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis. Eight million American women and two million men have osteoporosis, and millions maore have low bone density. One in two women and one in eight men over age 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime. Ten percent of African-American women over 50 have osteoporosis; an additional 30% have low bone density that puts them at risk of developing osteoporosis. Significant risk has been reported in people of all ethinic backgrounds.(encarta 95)
While osteoporosis is often thought of as an older person's disease, it can strike at any age. Osteoporosis is responsible for more than 1.5 million fractures annually, including: 300,000 hip fractures and approximately 700,000 vertebral fracture, 250,000 wrist frctures, and 300,000 fractures at other sites. The rate of hip fractures is two to three times higher in women than men, however the one year mortality following a hip frcture is nearly twice as high for men as for women.(Mayo clinic center). In 1991, about 300,000 Americans age 45 and over wer admitted to the hospital with hip fractures osteroprosis was the underlying cause of most of these injuries. An average of 24% of hip fracture patients age 50 and over die in the year following their fracture. One-fourth of those who were ambulatory before their hip fracture require long-term caar afterward.
Osteoporosis if often called the "silent disease" because bone loss occurs without symptoms. People may not know that they have the disease until their bones become so weak that sudden strain, bump, or fall causes a fracture or a vertebra to collapse. Collapsed certebrae may initially be felt or seen in the form of severe back pain, loss of height, or spinal deformities such as kyphosis or stooped posture. Certain people are more...