Damaged Bone

Osteoporosis is the gradual wasting away of the mineral component of bone. It happens painlessly and without symptoms. Unless it is diagnosed through tests carried out on the bone, people are often unaware they have the condition until a bone becomes so weak, that a small everyday shock causes a fracture. The exact nature by which osteoporosis occurs is still unknown. Although hat is known is that from the age of about thirty the rate of bone production by osteoblasts begins to decrease. The rate of bone destruction by osteoclasts does not change to such an extent, and so the density of the bone decreases. Eighty percent of those affected are female, and post menopausal women are particularly at risk due to the reduction in the female hormone oestrogen, that, amongst other things, reduces bone production. In the five to seven years following the menopause women can lose up to 20% of their bone mass.

Healthy Bone

In the UK over £1.5 billion is spent on treating osteoporosis and the fractures caused by it. As yet there is still no cure for osteoporosis. People affected by the condition are prescribed drugs that slow the rate of bone loss, but not prevent it, or regain lost bone mass. It is however possible to reduce the risk of fracture in later life by building up the bone density beforehand. This can be achieved by eating a balanced diet that is rich in calcium and vitamin D, doing weight bearing exercise and refraining from drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and smoking.