Osteoporosis is a loss in bone density that results in fragile, porous bones that can fracture easily. It is most common among elderly women because of accelerated bone loss after menopause.
Often, osteoporosis is not diagnosed until a bone fracture occurs. It most commonly causes hip and spine fractures. Some patients with osteoporosis may develop a hunched, curved appearance of the upper back, the result of several small spinal fractures over time.
Once diagnosed, osteoporosis cannot be fully cured, so treatment options for the disease are aimed at preventing further bone loss. Prevention methods include stopping smoking, reducing consumption of alcohol, regular exercise, healthy diet, vitamin D and calcium supplements, hormone replacement therapy, and medications that may increase bone strength or promote bone formation.
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