Osteoporosis and African American Women


African American woman doctor looking at xrayWhile African American women tend to have higher bone mineral
density (BMD) than white women throughout life, they are still at significant
risk of developing osteoporosis. The misperception that osteoporosis is only a
concern for white women can delay prevention and treatment in African American
women who do not believe they are at risk for the disease.

What Is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a metabolic bone disease characterized by low bone
mass, which makes bones fragile and susceptible to fracture. Osteoporosis is
known as a silent disease because symptoms and pain do not appear until a
fracture occurs. Without prevention or treatment, osteoporosis can progress
painlessly until a bone breaks, typically in the hip, spine, or wrist. A hip
fracture can limit mobility and lead to a loss of independence, while vertebral
fractures can result in a loss of height, stooped posture, and chronic pain.

What Are the Risk Factors for Osteoporosis?

Risk factors for developing osteoporosis include: