Osteoporosis is a systemic skeletal disease that is characterised by low bone density and the micro-architectural deterioration of bone tissue resulting in enhanced bone fragility and consequent increase in factor risk. Such fractures usually occurring in the hip or spine.
Osteoporosis is sometimes described as the ‘Silent’ disease as many people will be completely unaware of the disease as bone loss can be very gradual and be without symptoms until the fracture occurs.
Bone is constantly changing, with old bone being removed and new bone taking its place. Osteoporosis occurs when the rate of bone remove exceeds that of bone replacement. This results in a reduction in bone strength, making bones more fragile and susceptible to fracture. This bone loss can start as early as age 25.
One out of every three women and one out of every five men over the age of 50 will suffer an osteoporotic fracture over their lifetime and these numbers are expected to rise.
Osteoporosis can significantly impact on a persons ability to remain independent, with up to 25% of hip fracture patients requirement long term care in a nursing home facility.
Vertebral fractures are the most common osteoporotic fracture and occur with a higher incidence earlier in life as compared to other fractures. The presence of one vertebral fracture increases the risk of subsequent vertebral factors 5-fold. Fortunately with early warning and proper preventive treatment, the debilitating effects can be avoided.