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What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a gradual loss of bone that leads to decreased bone strength. This weakening of the bones increases a person’s chance of having a fracture.

What are the risk factors for osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is more common in menopausal women but with aging, men also develop osteoporosis and fracture. Certain medications and medical conditions can also lead to osteoporosis. Talk to your health care provider about your risk factors for developing osteoporosis.

Can osteoporosis be prevented?

There are several risk factors you can control. Smoking increases your risk, as does drinking alcohol in excess. Exercise regularly, with an emphasis on weight-bearing exercise. Eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D.

How is osteoporosis diagnosed?

Osteoporosis is diagnosed by a simple, painless, non-invasive test called a bone mineral density test or bone densitometry. It’s a specialized type of x-ray that takes only a few minutes and is the best way to diagnose osteoporosis early.

How is osteoporosis treated?

There is no cure for osteoporosis, but there are several treatment options, which tend to work better in combination. They include:

  • A diet high in calcium and vitamin D
  • Regular weight-bearing exercise, including balance activities
  • Reducing the risk for falls by using night lights, sand on porch steps, hand railings
  • Prescription medications, which stop bone loss or actually rebuild bone
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