Bone is living tissue and is constantly changing. From birth, our bones are developing and strengthening and reach their peak mass when we are in our 20s.1
Bones undergo wear and tear all the time. To prevent lasting damage old bone is dissolved by the body (resorption) and new bone grows back (formation). Osteoporosis literally means porous bone and occurs when old bone is dissolved more quickly than new bone is grown. After the menopause bone loss becomes more rapid and bones can become thin and fragile.1 Osteoporosis can also occur in men due to ageing or a low level of the hormone testosterone.
How common is osteoporosis?
Millions of people worldwide have osteoporosis, it is especially common in women after the menopause.2 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men over the age of 50 will suffer an osteoporotic broken bone (fracture) in their lifetime.3 Wrist, spine and hip fractures are the most common.1 Broken bones can cause pain and disability.3 The good news is that the risk of breaking a bone due to osteoporosis can be reduced.3
As the weakening of bone is gradual and painless, there are often no symptoms to indicate if a person has osteoporosis. This is why it is often referred to as a ‘silent’ disease.4 However, the presence of a number of factors could signal that you may be at increased risk of breaking a bone due to osteoporosis. Do you know your personal risk factors for osteoporosis?
The Osteoporosis Risk Check available on the Irish Osteoporosis Society will help you to check what is your level of risk for osteoporosis. Please click on the image below to open the Osteoporosis Risk Check
- http://www.iofbonehealth.org/what-osteoporosis-0 [accessed February 2020]
- Ström O et al. Arch Osteoporos 2011
- https://www.irishosteoporosis.ie/about-osteoporosis/ [accessed February 2020]
- http://www.iofbonehealth.org/whos-risk [accessed February 2020]