Frequently Asked Questions
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a progressive condition in which bone mass and strength is lost, thereby weakening the bones and making them more susceptible to fractures. Some loss of bone is a normal part of the aging process. But for people with osteoporosis, bone loss is excessive and results in an increased risk of bone fractures often following little or no injury. These fractures, usually of the hip, spine and wrist, can cause pain, deformity and disability, however fractures of the spine may cause height loss without any acute symptoms.
Forty percent of American women over the age of 50 will experience an osteoporotic fracture in their lifetime. In men, the risk for osteoporotic fractures increases dramatically as they age into their 70s and 80s.
What are the risk factors associated with osteoporosis?
- Body weight less than 127 pounds
- Current smoker
- History of fracture after age 40
- First-degree relative with history of osteoporosis or fracture
- Caucasian or Asian descent
- Advanced age
- Early menopause or estrogen deficiency in women
- Low testosterone or use of hormonal suppression therapy for prostate cancer in men or breast cancer in women
- Low intake of calcium, past or present
- Chronic use of steroids, anticonvulsant or excessive thyroid hormone
- Chronic gastrointestinal or kidney disorders
- Sedentary lifestyle/lack of exercise
- Excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption
Who should have an evaluation for osteoporosis?
An evaluation for osteoporosis is beneficial for anyone with risk factors. Since women are four times more likely than men to develop osteoporosis, it is especially important for them to be evaluated. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that all women over 65 have a bone density measurement as well as younger women and older men with multiple risk factors.
What if my bone density is low, or I already have osteoporosis?
The physicians at the UConn Center for Osteoporosis will evaluate your condition and prepare a personalized treatment plan to fit your needs.