Osteoporosis, which means “porous bones,” causes bones to become weak and brittle — so brittle that even mild stresses like bending over, lifting a vacuum cleaner or coughing can cause a fracture. In most cases, bones weaken when you have low levels of calcium, phosphorus and other minerals in your bones. Osteoporosis can also accompany endocrine disorders or result from excessive use of drugs such as corticosteroids.
A common result of osteoporosis is fractures — most of them in the spine, hip or wrist. Although it’s often thought of as a women’s disease, osteoporosis also affects a significant number of men. And compared with the number of women and men who have osteoporosis, many more have low bone density. Even children aren’t immune. Yet it’s never too late — or too early — to do something about osteoporosis. Everyone can take steps to keep bones strong and healthy throughout life.