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What is Osteoporosis?

Skeleton Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease characterised by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, which results in the bones becoming fragile and more susceptible to fractures (NICE, 2012). In the UK 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men over 50 years of age will suffer from an osteoporosis related fracture. Although osteoporosis is largely genetically determined, there are a number of associated risk factors and modifiable lifestyle factors which can be addressed to manage or prevent the disease.

Our bones are living tissue and constantly change throughout our lives. From birth until young adulthood, our bones are developing and strengthening. Our bones are at their most dense in our early 20’s.

As we age some of our bone cells begin to dissolve, while new bone cells are deposited. This process is known as bone remodelling. From our 40’s onwards the cells responsible for dissolving the bone become more active and our bones gradually lose their density. Women lose bone density faster in the years following the menopause when oestrogen levels drop. For people with osteoporosis the amount of bone growth is not enough to keep up with the amount of bone loss. This results in the bones becoming porous and brittle and therefore more prone to fracture (International Osteoporosis Foundation). Our Osteoporosis Clinic is available at St John’s Wood, London. Please click for more information e-mail [email protected] or call 020 7404 6343.

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