Those with fragile bones that may easily break have osteoporosis. The disease is the result of lower than average amounts of phosphate and calcium in the bones, which causes them to become porous and brittle. Bones that most commonly break are the bones in the spine, wrist and hip.
There are both controllable and uncontrollable risk factors that increase or decrease odds of developing the disease. For instance, people of all ages, races and genders get osteoporosis, but it is a condition most commonly found in Caucasian and Asian females over the age of 60. Other uncontrollable risk factors include: family history, certain diseases and hormone levels. Controllable factors encompass those things that an individual can do during their lifetimes to lower their risk for developing osteoporosis. For instance, smoking, excessive drinking (more than 7 ounces of alcohol per week), poor nutrition with low calcium intake and lack of exercise can all contribute to the development of the disease.
The best treatment for the disease is prevention by consuming the recommended amounts of calcium and phosphate throughout a lifetime. When the disease is recognized, calcium is prescribed into the diet immediately, hormone treatments may help and an exercise regimen is recommended to abate further deterioration of the bone. To find out if you have osteoporosis, an energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scanning can analyze bone density.