Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones that develops over a long period of time. The bones in the body start to weaken increasing with age. Many people are not even aware that they have it until they fracture a bone.
Some people are more prone to osteoporosis than others. Women are more likely to have it than men. Small boned people are at higher risk than large boned individuals. Caucasian and Asian women are at a higher risk than Hispanic and African-American women. It usually affects people who are 50 and older. Even though the incidence is higher in women, men do develop osteoporosis especially men who live past the age of 65.
Osteoporosis is usually preceded by osteopenia. The medical profession defines osteopenia as low bone mass that has not yet reached the level of osteoporosis. Those who do not have osteopenia or osteoporosis need a plan to prevent it. Individuals who already have one or the other should employ strategies to control it (prevent further bone loss). A successful plan will consist of methods to prevent bone loss and build bone mass. Since alcohol consumption and smoking can damage bone, doctors recommend that people at risk avoid smoking and restrict alcohol consumption. A good diet is also essential. For maximum bone health the body needs calcium and Vitamin D. Calcium constitutes a major part of bones. Vitamin D is necessary to help the body absorb the calcium.
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