Common Osteoporosis Questions

Peer Reviewed

QuestionsWhat is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become porous, weak, fragile, and susceptible to fracture. Bone mineral density (bone's core strength) is reduced as minerals such as calcium leaches out. Osteoporosis is often painless until a bone breaks. Unfortunately, a fractured bone may be the first symptom of osteoporosis a patient experiences. Although women are most often affected, osteoporosis can develop in men and young people of all ethnic backgrounds.

What causes osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis develops when bone breaks down faster than the body forms new bone. Many things can lead to osteoporosis. A family history, skeletally small boned, a poor diet during youth, lack of exercise, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, certain cancer therapies, or chronic dieting.

Is osteoporosis preventable?
Osteoporosis is one of the most preventable diseases in society today. Eat a well-balanced diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D, regularly perform weight-bearing and resistance exercises, don't smoke, be moderate in alcohol consumption, and talk to your doctor about bone mineral density testing.

How is osteoporosis treated?
A bone mineral density (BMD) test is essential to determine bone mass. Your doctor may also order blood and urine tests to help determine why you are losing bone. He or she may then suggest osteoporosis medications, combined with healthy eating habits, a diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D, and weight-bearing and resistance exercises.

What is the difference between vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty?
If osteoporosis causes a spinal fracture (vertebral compression fracture), your doctor may recommend a vertebroplasty or balloon kyphoplasty to stabilize the fracture. Both vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are minimally invasive procedures performed under either local or general anesthesia. The goal of each procedure is to treat pain and stabilize the spinal fracture. Kyphoplasty, under certain circumstances, may restore lost vertebral body height and reduce deformity.

Updated on: 08/11/15
Continue Reading
Osteoporosis Condition Center
Isador H. Lieberman, MD, MBA, FRCSC
This article was reviewed by Isador H. Lieberman, MD.
Continue Reading:

Osteoporosis Condition Center

Any bone can be affected by osteoporosis, but bone fractures of the spine—the vertebrae—are especially serious.
Read More