Osteoporosis is a major health problem, affecting more than 44 million Americans and contributing to an estimated 2 million bone fractures per year.
The term osteoporosis literally means porous bone. Osteoporosis is a disease of progressive bone loss, often developing unnoticed over many years, with no symptoms or discomfort until a fracture occurs. Osteoporosis often causes a loss of height and dowager’s hump (a severely rounded upper back).
One in two women and one in four men older than 50 years will sustain bone fractures caused by osteoporosis. Many of these are painful fractures of the hip, spine, wrist, arm, and leg, which often occur as a result of a fall. However, performing even simple household tasks can result in a fracture of the spine if the bones have been weakened by osteoporosis.