If you were to examine healthy bone under a microscope, you would notice that parts of it resemble a honeycomb. This is normal; however, your bones can lose density or mass, leaving much bigger spaces and holes than normal in the honeycomb-like structure of your bone tissue.
Bone is living tissue, which is constantly being absorbed and replaced, but with a condition called osteoporosis, you lose too much bone mass, make too little bone, or both. Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become weak and brittle. With this condition, bones may break from a minor fall, or in severe cases, something as simple as bending over, bumping into furniture, or sneezing or coughing could cause a fracture. Osteoporosis-related fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine, but other bones can break too.
According to the Mayo Clinic, about 54 million Americans have osteoporosis and low bone mass. Studies suggest that approximately one in two women and up to one in four men age 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis. Breaking a bone can be serious - especially if you are elderly! Statistics show that around 20% of seniors who break a hip die within one year from problems related to the broken bone itself or surgery to repair it.
After you reach peak bone mass (sometime between the ages of 18-25 in most), the balance between bone formation and bone loss might start to change. You may start to slowly lose more bone than you form. In midlife, bone loss usually speeds up in both men and women, but for most women, bone loss increases after menopause, when estrogen levels drop sharply. In fact, in the five to seven years after menopause, women can lose up to 20 percent or more of their bone density.
There are a variety of factors - both controllable and uncontrollable - that put you at risk for developing osteoporosis. Talk to Dr. Strebel or Dr. Grolle about your risk factors for osteoporosis and together you can develop a plan to protect your bones.