Osteoporosis is a condition that leads to loss of bone mass. From the outside, osteoporotic bone is shaped like normal bone. However, the inside of the bones becomes more porous during the aging process due to the loss of calcium and phosphate. The loss of these minerals makes the bones more prone to fracture even during routine activities, like walking, standing, or bathing. Often, a person will sustain a fracture before becoming aware of the presence of the disease.
Prevention is the best measure for treating osteoporosis by eating a recommended balanced diet including foods with sufficient amounts of calcium, phosphorous, and vitamin D. In addition, maintaining a regular exercise program as approved by your health care provider will help to keep the bones strong.
Various medications can be used as part of the treatment for osteoporosis and should be discussed thoroughly with your health care provider.
Update Date 11/7/2013
Updated by: Brent Wisse, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Nutrition, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.