Osteoporosis FAQ

Answers to Common Osteoporosis Questions

Written by Pauline M. Camacho MD, FACE
Reviewed by Daniel J. Toft MD, PhD

Osteoporosis is a condition of decreased bone mass. This leads to fragile bones that are at an increased risk for fractures. In fact, it will take much less stress on an osteoporotic bone to cause it to fracture than it would on a healthy bone.

Though post-menopausal women are most commonly associated with osteoporosis, men also experience it. In fact, it's estimated that 20% of the 10 million Americans with osteoporosis are men.
 
If you have osteoporosis, your bones are weak and prone to fracture. Fractured bones caused by osteoporosis are most commonly located in the hip, spine, and wrist.
 
To get more details, please read our osteoporosis overview.
 
What Are the Symptoms of Osteoporosis?
There are usually no tell-tale symptoms that alert you to the presence of osteoporosis early on in its progression.
 
You may feel a dull pain in your bones or muscles at the onset of the disease. But for most people, the first indication that they have osteoporosis is a fracture. These fractures may cause a loss of height, and you may notice your spine starting to hunch forward. The problem is, when these things happen, osteoporosis is already in its advanced stages.
 
You can learn more by reading our article about osteoporosis symptoms.
 
What Causes Osteoporosis?
There are many factors that contribute to and exacerbate the onset of osteoporosis. They include:
To learn more, read our article about the causes of osteoporosis.
 
What Are the Risk Factors for Osteoporosis?
Some of the most common osteoporosis risk factors are often unavoidable; that is, you can’t control their occurrence.
 
These factors include:
While there are many uncontrollable factors that may contribute to your osteoporosis risk, there are certain lifestyle behaviors that you can control that will also impact your chances of developing the disease:
There are many other risk factors, and you can read more about them in our article about risk factors for osteoporosis .
 
How Is Osteoporosis Treated?
There are many different ways to treat osteoporosis. Non-surgical methods include:
If you have a serious fracture, you’ll most likely need surgery. The most common locations for osteoporosis-related fractures are in the hip, spine, and wrist. To learn about the surgical techniques used to treat fractures in these locations, you can read our article about surgery for osteoporosis.