Osteoporosis is a common disease that causes bones to become fragile and brittle. Osteoporosis causes bones to lose minerals such as calcium more quickly than the body can replace them, and consequently there is a reduction in bone strength and density. As the bone becomes thinner, even a small bump or minor fall may cause a serious fracture (called a fragility fracture). Therefore, osteoporosis leads to a higher risk of fractures compared to normal healthy bone. Osteoporosis is often called the “silent disease” because there are usually no symptoms until a fracture occurs.
Approximately 4.74 million Australians over the age of 50 have osteoporosis or poor bone health, and around 150,000 fractures occur each year due to osteoporosis or osteopenia (low bone density). In fact, an osteoporotic fracture occurs every 2.9 minutes, which means that a fracture has probably occurred during the time you have spent on our website.
Osteoporosis particularly affects women after menopause and in their later years, although men are also affected. One in three Australian women, and one in five Australian men will develop osteoporosis and be in danger of a fragility fracture. Worse, still, after a fracture, 1 in 2 people never regain full mobility and 1 in 4 have to move into a nursing home. Physical activity and a healthy, balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D can help prevent osteoporosis.