Essay by edgespeeder03A+, May 2004

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Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. If not prevented or if left untreated, osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone breaks. These broken bones are known as fractures, which occur in the hip, spine, and wrist. Osteoporosis is the loss of bone density which causes bone weakness and may cause it to break. At the age of 30, bone loss begins to occur slowly. The first signs of this disease are seen in the bones that have a lot of spongy bone. After the age of 65 to 70, bone loss occurs more rapidly.

Symptoms of this disease include back pain, bone fracture which occurs sometimes without falling or trauma to the area. Also bone pain or tenderness, dentures that do not fit as well as they did before, loss of height, and neck pain. Kyphosis is a bending forward of the spine that creates a curvature known as dowager's hump.

Some risk factors are bone density decreases with age, body size, women with small thin bodies are at the highest rank, and ethnic background such as Caucasian and Asian women are at the highest risk while Latino and African American women are at somewhat less risk. Also, reduced bone mass and risk for bone fractures seem to run in some families and women have less dense bones than man and lose more bone mass during after menopause. Other risk that can be changed are smoking, a diet low in calcium and vitamin D, eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, excessive alcohol intake, low hormone levels associated with menopause and sedentary lifestyle. Some things that can increase a person's risk are cancers affecting the bone, the overproduction of parathyroid hormone and the body attacking its own joint tissue.

Bone loss can...