What is Osteoporosis and What Causes it?

Updated on 11 May 2023

Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones lose density and become fragile. It is caused by the loss of bone tissue over time, which can be accelerated by certain factors such as smoking or having an unhealthy diet.

About 200 million people suffer from osteoporosis worldwide. In India alone, there are around 50 million osteoporosis patients. Although it affects both men and women, women are four times more likely to get it. In addition, 30% of women and 40% of men over 50 will suffer osteoporosis-related fractures in their lifetime. This condition is called Osteopenia.

Symptoms of Osteoporosis

The most prevalent signs and symptoms of osteoporosis is a pain in the back or other bones of the body with no apparent cause. Other symptoms include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Loss of height over time
  • Change in posture (can have hunched back)
  • Brittle bones

Causes of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis can be understood even without knowing exactly why it develops. Living and growing tissue makes up your bones. In healthy bones, the interior resembles a sponge. This area is called the trabecular bone. There is an outer layer of dense bone that surrounds the spongy bone. The hard shell of the bone is known as the cortical bone.
The bones support the body and protect vital organs in osteoporosis, but they also store calcium and other minerals. When osteoporosis occurs, the holes/gaps in the "sponge" increase in size and number, weakening the insides of the bone. When calcium is required, the body breaks down the bone for calcium and rebuilds it with supplement calcium. In this way, calcium can be supplied to the body while maintaining bone strength by a process known as bone remodeling.
In your later years, you tend to lose bone mass more quickly than you gain it, leading to gradual bone loss. Menopause and pregnancy can be the other factors to cause or worsen osteoporosis.

Who is at Risk of Osteoporosis?

  • A woman's ethnicity can also affect how likely she is to develop osteoporosis. African-American and Hispanic women are commonly at risk of developing osteoporosis. The rate of death after a hip fracture is higher for African-American women than for white women.
  • A person's frame and weight affect their osteoporosis risk. People with smaller frames and lighter weights are at a higher risk.
  • You may be at a higher risk of osteoporosis if you have a family history of osteoporosis. For instance, they may have broken their hips after a minor fall.
  • In addition, some medical conditions and medications, including some associated with irregular hormone levels, may increase your risk of osteoporosis.


To conclude, if you suffer from osteoporosis already, you can also slow your bone loss rate with a certain course of treatment. Consult the doctor immediately if you face any of the symptoms of osteoporosis to avoid any mishap. Take Care! Stay Safe!





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