What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis as a disease is characterised by low bone mass and micro architectural deterioration of bone tissue, leading to increased bone fragility and a consequent increase in fracture risk.
One in three women and one in twelve men over 50 years of age are affected.
Bones with Osteoporosis fracture more easily than normal bone. Even a minor bump or fall can cause a serious fracture. Half of all women and one-third of men over 60 in Australia will have a fracture due to osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is often called a silent disease, as there are usually no signs or symptoms until someone has a fracture. Any bone can be affected but the most common are bones in the hip, spine, wrist, ribs, pelvis and upper arm.
Menopause and osteoporosis
From about the age of 45 years, women may begin to lose bone at the rate of about 1-2% per year. This is because women’s bodies usually make less oestrogen at this age. After menopause, oestrogen levels continue decreasing and this speeds up bone loss to about 2-4% per year, especially in the first 5-10 years after menopause. Bone loss caused by menopause may last up to 15-20 years. The amount varies, but some women can lose as much as 30% of their bone during those years.
The male hormone, testosterone, does not decrease suddenly like oestrogen.
The health of your bones depends on:
The level of hormones in an individual body.
How physically active you are
What you eat
These things affect how well bones form in early adulthood when your bones are at their strongest. After the thirties, it is important to maintain bone strength and prevent bone loss.