Osteoporosis Prevention and Awareness Month

Osteoporosis Prevention and Awareness Month

May 18, 2015


Osteoporosis is a bone disease that affects approximately nine million Americans. Additionally, 43 million have low bone density, placing them at an increased risk of a broken bone. 

While there is no cure for osteoporosis, there are preventative measures that can be taken to help reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis. 

May is National Osteoporosis Prevention and Awareness Month, and at KOC, we are dedicated to raising awareness of the condition. Osteoporosis is referred to as a “silent disease,” because it is often undetected until it’s too late. You cannot feel your bones becoming weaker, and often, osteoporosis is not discovered until after a bone is broken. 

Raising awareness can help educate and inform, and enables you to take action early to help prevent osteoporosis. 

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a bone disease. It occurs when your body loses too much bone, or makes too little bone. As a result, your bones become weakened and are more likely to break from minor falls or even bumps.

Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” When viewed under a microscope, part of the bone will look like a honeycomb. In a patient who has osteoporosis, the spaces in the honeycomb will be much bigger than they would otherwise be in a normal bone.

What Causes Osteoporosis?

Your bones are constantly growing and changing over the course of your entire life. Bones continually change with bone cells dissolving and new bone cells growing back in. However, people with osteoporosis don’t grow new bone cells as well, causing the bone mass and density to deteriorate. The cause of osteoporosis is often a combination of contributing factors.    

  • Lack of Calcium – Your bones need calcium in order to grow and to continue the rebuilding process. Other parts of your body needs calcium as well. Your bones are the reservoir for both calcium and phosphorus. When your other organs (such as your heart, muscles, and nerves) need calcium, they steal it from your bones. Over time, if your bones are depleted of this mineral, the result is weak, thin bones. 
  • Lack of Vitamin D – Vitamin D helps your body absorb and use the calcium stored. A lack of vitamin D can also lead to weakened bones and lead to an increased loss of bone mass.  
  • A Sedentary Life – Bones becomes weak if they aren’t used. You can help reduce your chances of osteoporosis by participating in strength training exercises where you put gentle stress on your bones. 
  • Medical Conditions – Medical conditions such as cystic fibrosis can contribute to osteoporosis. These conditions can prevent people from storing the calcium the way they should, and they tend to lose bone mass faster than others. 

Who is Most at Risk?

One in two women and one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. People most at risk for developing osteoporosis include those who have a medical condition that can cause osteoporosis, who are older than 50 years of age, and those who lose bone mass more quickly than others. 

Common Risk Factors

There are a number of risk factors that can increase your chances of developing osteoporosis. Some of these include:

  • Your Sex – Females are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis than men.
  • Your Age – Your risk increases with age. 
  • Your Race – Caucasian and Asian races are at a higher risk for osteoporosis.
  • Family History – Your chances of developing osteoporosis are greater if your parents or siblings have developed it. 
  • Body Frame – Both men and women who have smaller frames are at higher risk, since there is less bone mass to draw from as they age.
  • Medication – Certain types of medication can contribute to osteoporosis.

Importance of Early Detection

Early detection is important. This allows you and your doctor to work together to decide on lifestyle changes and to choose treatments that will help to prevent your bones from breaking. While there is no cure, there are treatments available that can help increase bone density and reduce your chances of fracturing or breaking a bone. Even if you don’t have any of the above risk factors, you could still be at risk for osteoporosis. The only way to determine bone density is with a bone density test.

Living With Osteoporosis

It is possible to live with osteoporosis by taking necessary safety and health precautions. There are a number of treatments and options that help strengthen your bones and give you a better quality of life. However, it’s important to be aware of the fact that your bones are still fragile (in order to prevent fractures and other complications).

If you’re age 50 or older, and have broken a bone, ask your doctor if you should have a bone density test. This will provide your doctor with the information that he or she needs to make a diagnosis.


At Knoxville Orthopaedic Clinic, our physicians practice exclusively within their respective specialty in order to offer their patients a superior quality of diagnostic proficiency. For more information on orthopaedic care, visit Knoxville Orthopaedic Clinic today.


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