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Osteoporosis means "condition of porous bones" and causes weakened bone strength and density. The condition also leads to a lack of minerals required for optimal bones strength. The term may define lack of bone density, mass and strength. It's a progressive disease process, meaning it will likely get worse over time. An increase in thinning bones may contribute to more instability and falls in the elderly, leading to more fractures, many of them so serious they are debilitating.

Osteoporosis is more common in elderly women than men. The reason for this is after menopause, a woman's body slows in the production of estrogen, which protects against steady bone loss.


  • Lack of adequate calcium intake
  • Lack of exercise
  • Menopause
  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • Age


Osteoporosis by itself does not cause any symptoms, and in most cases, a person will not know they have osteoporosis until the condition is diagnosed by their doctor. Increased fractures resulting from falls may indicate weak or porous bones associated with osteoporosis.


Your doctor may use a number of methods to diagnose osteoporosis, including:

  • Physical examination
  • Bone scans, such as DXA or DEXA scans that measure bone density and degree of bone loss
  • CT scan - computed tomography can be used to determine bone mass
  • Single-photon absorptiometry - or SPA to measure amount of minerals in the scanned section of bone


Your doctor's first approach to the treatment of osteoporosis may include:

  • ERT - estrogen replacement therapy
  • Bone-building medications that increase bone density such as etidronate or inhaled Calcitonin
  • Increase of calcium ingestion to 1,500 mg for women over 65. Calcium should be taken with vitamin D for proper absorption
  • Weight-bearing exercise that helps strengthen bones, increase bone mass and new bone cell growth


Surgery for osteoporosis is not meant as a preventive or curative measure. Surgery is indicated when bones or joints are damaged by the condition and further inhibit mobility or range of motion or cause pain or decreased ability to get around.