Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. If not prevented or if left untreated, osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone breaks. These broken bones, also known as fractures, occur typically in the hip, spine, and wrist.
Any bone can be affected, but of special concern are fractures of the hip and spine. A hip fracture almost always requires hospitalization and major surgery. It can impair a person's ability to walk unassisted and may cause prolonged or permanent disability or even death. Spinal or vertebral fractures also have serious consequences, including loss of height, severe back pain, and deformity.
Your doctor will recommend a bone density test (DEXA) if you are menopausal and have risk factors for osteoporosis. If you do not have risk factors, your doctor will recommend a bone density at age 65. Ask your doctor about more information on osteoporosis or visit the website for the National Osteoporosis Foundation (www.nof.org)