Osteoporosis is the thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density over time. Osteoporosis is defined as a disease of bones that leads to an increased risk of fracture. In osteoporosis, the bone mineral density (BMD) is reduced, bone microarchitecture deteriorates, and the amount and variety of proteins in bone are altered.
Osteoporosis is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a bone mineral density that is 2.5 standard deviations or more below the mean peak bone mass (average of young, healthy adults) as measured by DXA; the term “established osteoporosis” includes the presence of a fragility fracture.
Usually,there are no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Osteoporosis itself has no symptoms; its main consequence is the increased risk of bone fractures. Osteoporotic fractures occur in situations where healthy people would not normally break a bone; they are therefore regarded as fragility fractures. Typical fragility fractures occur in the vertebral column, rib, hip and wrist.
Symptoms occurring late in the disease include:
- Bone pain or tenderness
- Fractures with little or no trauma
- Loss of height (as much as 6 inches) over time
- Low back pain due to fractures of the spinal bones
- Neck pain due to fractures of the spinal bones
- Stooped posture or kyphosis, also called a “dowager’s hump”