Essay by bwilmore27University, Bachelor's March 2005

download word file, 2 pages 3.0

Osteoporosis is known as the silent thief because it drains away bone slowly over many years. This happens at such a gradual rate that often times the patient or their doctor are aware the bones are weakening, that is unfortunately until one of the bones snap. Osteoporosis, which means "porous bones," is a condition of excessive skeletal fragility resulting in bones that break easily.

"Osteoporosis leads to 1.5 million fractures, or breaks, per year, mostly in the hip, spine and wrist, with the cost of treatment estimated at $17 billion and rising, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It threatens 34 million Americans, mostly older women, but older men get it too. One in 2 women and 1 in 4 men older than 50 will suffer a vertebral fracture, according to the NIH. These numbers are predicted to rise as the population ages" per the FDA Consumer Magazine September 1996 issue.

Any bone is susceptible to fracture, but special concern is placed on the hip and spine. Almost all hip fractures require hospitalization and major surgery and can also cause permanent disability, if not impairment to a persons walking ability. Fractures of the spine can cause sever back pain and deformity. Osteoporosis and the frail bones that accompany this disease can have extreme effects on a person's life. Chronic pain and anxiety can prevent people from doing meaningful daily activities and in some extreme cases the simplest things can cause broken bones, such as a sneeze, or walking down a flight of steps.

Medical research indicates that osteoporosis is due to many factors. A combination of genetic, dietary, hormonal, age-related, and lifestyle factors all contribute to this condition. Menopause and the loss of Estrogen caused by it are a major factor in the cause of...