What is Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis, which literally means “porous bone”, is a disorder in which both the quality and the quantity of the bone diminish, causing the bones to become more brittle and break easily. These fractures commonly occur with a small trauma, such as a fall from no higher that the own body height, or even spontaneously.1,2 Approximately 1 in 3 women over 50 years old breaks a bone as a result of osteoporosis.3
Bone consists of living tissue which renews itself continuously. Up to the age of approximately 40 years old, there is a balance between bone production and bone degradation.1 However, gradually, with aging, there is more bone degradation than bone production, and in women, this process accelerates after the menopause. Approximately 22 million women in Europe suffer from osteoporosis.3
Osteoporosis is a “silent” disease, often without symptoms, until a fracture occurs.1
The most common locations for fractures are the3:
- Spinal column
An early diagnosis of osteoporosis and the start of treatment allow to decrease the bone degradation and, by doing so, optimally reduce the risk of fractures. A fracture is painful and exhausting and considerably impacts the quality of life: chronic pain, loss of independence, reduction of quality of life.7
How to recognize Osteoporosis?
There are various factors that can indicate the presence of osteoporosis. The first sign indicating that you may have osteoporosis is a loss of height of 3 cm or more. Therefore, once the age of 50 is reached, it is important to measure your height on a regular basis.4
Other risk factors include: early menopause (before the age of 40), a broken hip in one of the parents, lack of exercise, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.5,6
Diagnosing the disease
A diagnosis of osteoporosis is confirmed with a bone density test (BMD test). This essential examination measures the density with great precision. In addition to the BMD test, the FRAX tool can be used as an assessment modality for the prediction of fracture. FRAX calculates the 10-year probability of major osteoporotic fractures using risk factors (age, sex, race, height, weight, body mass index, a history of fragility fracture, a parental history of hip fracture, use of oral glucocorticoids, rheumatoid arthritis and other secondary causes of osteoporosis, current smoking, and alcohol intake of three or more units daily) with or without femoral neck BMD.8
Are you at risk of osteoporosis? Do the test here.
- www.iofbonehealth.org/osteoporosis last accessed on September 20, 2017.
- National Institutes of Health, What is Osteoporosis? Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/bone/osteoporosis/osteoporosis_ff.pdf. Accessed on: September 30, 2015.
- Hernlund E. Arch Osteoporos. 2013;8:136.
- GRIO. IdéesVraies/Fausses :L’ostéoporose post-ménopausique (Myths and Realities: Post-Menopausal Osteoporosis). 2011
- Rheumatology Institute, Cochin Hospital Group, L’Ostéoporoseen 100 questions, (Osteoporosis in 100 Questions), Editions GRIO, 2006.
- HAS. Les médicaments de l’ostéoporose (Osteoporosis medications) - BUM sheet. July 2014.
- FRAX® Identifying people at high risk of fracture, International Osteoporosis Foundation, Dr. Eugene McCloskey, 2009.
- Aasi Unnanuntana et al The Assessment of Fracture Risk J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2010 Mar; 92(3): 743–753.
PR-PRO-LBN-000045 Dec 18