Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones which is caused by a reduction in the bone density leading to a higher risk of fractures. These fractures may occur in any bone, but are often seen in weight-bearing bones, such as the long bones of the legs and the vertebral bodies of the spine, but the arms, wrists, and even the ribs are associated with the increased fracture risk. Women seem to be more at risk for these types of fractures and alterations in hormone levels, particularly associated with menopause are part of the cause.
Certain medications, especially high and long term use of oral corticosteroids, such as prednisone, along with certain medications used for seizure disorders, are associated with the loss of bone mineral density leading to a weakening of the bones and, consequently, an increased fracture risk.
The treatment of osteoporosis actually starts in childhood with adequate nutrition and adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D. Keeping yourself from getting osteoporosis in adult life requires an adherence to a healthy life style, which includes regular physical activity and smoking cessation.
The lack of physical activity has been shown to result in the loss of bone mineral density. Likewise, smoking has also been associated with bone loss even in young, otherwise healthy males. Fractures associated with osteoporosis can be avoided, but not without some effort. An adequate diet that includes calcium and vitamin D along with the commitment to stop smoking will go a long way in reducing fracture risk