Osteoporosis: Underrecognized & Undertreated

portrait of senior black womanBone is living tissue, and that tissue responds to weight-bearing exercise, physiological conditions within the body, and dietary intake of minerals that contribute to bone growth and development.

Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones that can lead to painful and occasionally deadly fractures. Literally meaning “porous bones”, this condition results in reduced bone density that occurs gradually over a period of years.

The Causes of Osteoporosis

The main cause of osteoporosis is a decrease in estrogen levels in women (usually at the onset of menopause) and a decrease in testosterone levels in men, although the risk for men is significantly less than for women.

Calcium and phosphate are the two minerals that are most crucial for bone health. In older individuals, calcium and phosphate are reabsorbed back into the body from the bones if dietary intake is insufficient, and this leads to bone loss. Thus, brittle and fragile bones lead to an increased risk of fracture. And according to some sources, nearly 50% of all women over 50 years of age experience a fracture of the hip, wrist or spine at some point in their later lives.