Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become thin and fragile. Osteoporosis affects both men and women, but white women are at greater risk. In the early stages of the disease there are no symptoms, but when the bones become weak, various symptoms occur such as back pain and loss of height with the lapse of time. The most serious complication of osteoporosis is fractures of the spine or hip. Sometimes spine fractures occur even without falling.

The most important risk factors of osteoporosis are:

  • Sex. Women are more likely to develop osteoporosis in comparison with men.
  • Age. The elderly have higher risk of osteoporosis. In young people, the human body forms a new bone faster than the old bone breaks, thus increasing the
    bone mass. As people grow, bone mass is lost more quickly than formed.
  • Family history. People with a parent who has been diagnosed with osteoporosis have greater risk of developing the disease than someone without a family with a history of osteoporosis.
  • Hormone levels. The strongest risk factor for osteoporosis is the reduction of oestrogen at menopause. In men, decrease of testosterone can lead to osteoporosis.
  • Elevated levels of thyroxine may lead to osteoporosis.
  • Daily habits – such as individuals that do not exercise frequently – have greater risk of developing osteoporosis. Other factors that contribute to increased risk are excessive alcohol consumption and smoking.

Some changes in the way of life can lead to the prevention of osteoporosis, such as quitting smoking and stopping abusing alcohol. Frequent exercise strengthens muscles and improves bone strength in people with osteoporosis. Aerobics and resistance training can maintain or increase bone density. Vitamin D also contributes to the prevention of osteoporosis.