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Osteoporosis is characterized by the loss of calcium and bone tissue in the bones, which makes them susceptible to fracturing (breaking). If not prevented or if left untreated, osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone breaks. Fractures typically occur in the hip, spine and wrist, though any bone can be affected. Hip and spinal fractures are of special concern; hip fractures almost always require hospitalization and major surgery, and can permanently limit a person's ability to walk unassisted. Unfortunately, a simple fall that results in a fractured hip all too often causes prolonged or permanent disability, and even death. Spinal or vertebral fractures also have serious consequences, including loss of height, severe back pain and deformity that can further limit mobility, independence and a person's ability to perform daily activities as well as the activities that could limit further risk. While women are four times more likely than men to develop the disease, men also suffer from osteoporosis. While bone loss is affected by diet and hormonal balance, a sedentary lifestyle, poor posture, poor balance and weak muscles increase the risk of falls and fractures.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|