Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become increasingly porous, losing density and causing them to be weak and brittle. It is the most common reason for fracture among the elderly.
Osteoporosis becomes more common with age. 70% of people over the age of 80 are affected, and more women are affected than men. 5-7 years after menopause, many women will experience a sudden decline in bone density due to the decrease in estrogen production.
Many times, osteoporosis is not diagnosed until a person suffers a fracture from minor stress such as bending over. The most common injuries due to osteoporosis include hip fracture, wrist fracture, and vertebrae fracture. Older adults who have a bent-over appearance or change in posture are most likely affected by osteoporosis in the vertebrae, which causes tiny fractures, changing the shape of the spine.
People diagnosed with osteoporosis may be prescribed a bisphosphonate, like Actonel, Boniva, Fosamax, or Reclast. These bone-boosting drugs can reduce bone loss and may even build bone density.