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Osteoporosis prevention & treatment

Particularly common in older women, Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become increasingly fragile and prone to breaking. It often remains undetected until the patient actually breaks a bone for the first time.

Although Osteoporosis mainly affects post-menopausal women, men can also have it. It begins to occur in early middle age as more bone cells are lost than are replaced - bone density decreases, and the bones weaken.

Risk factors include:

  • Low testosterone levels (men)
  • Long-term use of corticosteroid medication
  • Maternal osteoporosis
  • Smoking
  • Heavy drinking
  • Lack of exercise
  • Low body weight
  • Medical conditions that affect absorption of nutrients (e.g. celiac disease)
This condition is very common - an estimated three million people in the UK have it, with around 230,000 fractures each year occurring as a result.

Prevention is far better than treatment, and relatively easy to achieve. The main actions would include increasing the calcium in your diet, and increasing the amount of weight-bearing exercise you do (e.g. walking, running, weight training). In addition, reducing alcohol consumption and quitting smoking will make a significant reduction in your risk.