Osteoporosis is a disease which over time causes bones to degenerate and weaken. Consequently, individuals who suffer from this disease are at a much greater risk for fracturing a bone than those whose bones remain strong. Protein, collagen, and calcium give healthy bones strength and durability, but bones weakened by osteoporosis resemble honeycombs or sponges. As the disease progresses, the spaces between the honeycomb (bone) become larger and larger and the bone tissue gets thinner and more fragile. The gateway condition is osteopenia, in which bone mass is slightly decreased from that of normal bone but not quite to the degree found in osteoporosis.

Bone weakening occurs because new bone cells are not being produced as quickly, told sono bello as the old bone cells are being destroyed. Bone mass is ultimately decreased, causing bones to become more brittle and fragile. While men and women both are susceptible to osteoporosis, women are particularly affected. Bone density typically peaks at around age 25 for both men and women and holds fairly steady for about a decade. The hormone estrogen, which helps to keep bones strong and healthy, begins to significantly decline in production during a woman's 40's. Therefore, when the production of the hormone ceases during menopause, the bone loss process increases tremendously, which is one reason why postmenopausal osteoporosis is the most common type of osteoporosis. Bone loss can occur rapidly, with many women losing up to 20% of their bone mass within 5 to 7 years after menopause.

Sadly, the first symptoms are those which appear well after the onslaught of the disease. Painful fractures are common in the osteoporotic spine, pelvis, ribs, wrists, but they can ultimately occur in any bone. Such fractures occur in men and women, although Caucasian women are most impacted by the disease. Many elderly patients with compound fractures or those requiring serious long-term recovery find themselves requiring nursing-home care. Due to complications which can arise from fractures, having osteoporosis does come with an increased risk of death from things like pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, and surgery. For example, nearly 20% of patients who suffer a hip fracture will die within the year. Individuals who have fractured one bone due to the disease have a much higher chance of another related fracture. Fractures also do not heal as well in patients with osteoporosis, as new bone does not form as well or as quickly; only 1/3 of patients with a hip fracture and osteoporosis will regain their pre-fracture strength and movement.

With the aging of the US population, osteoporosis will continue to be an expensive health battle. Currently, over 55% of citizens over the age of 50 are estimated to have low bone density - that's over 78 million individuals who will require some medical attention due to the illness, at the cost of billions of dollars each year. Prevention and treatment medications, as well as the research industry for osteoporosis are multi-billion dollar industries.