ABOUT OSTEOPOROSIS: When bones become fragile, they are more likely to break. Osteoporosis is a disease marked by low bone mass and deteriorating bone tissue. The name means porous bone, and it can strike silently, with little warning before a seemingly minor accident causes a debilitating broken hip, spine, or wrist (the disease affects other bones as well).
PROTECTING AGAINST OSTEOPOROSIS: Eighty-five to ninety percent of bone mass is acquired in early life, which makes developing strong bones as a child and teenager important. Other preventative measures include obtaining the recommended amount of calcium and vitamin D, exercising regularly, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol, and obtaining bone density tests to check if treatment is necessary. Women make up eighty percent of the people suffering from osteoporosis, but it also affects men. Osteoporosis most often strikes the elderly, but it can impact people of any age. People cannot feel their bones weakening, so preventative efforts are important in avoiding the adverse effects of the disease.
ABOUT FRACTURES: A fractured bone is the same thing as a broken bone. Bones break when they are unable to support the energy placed on them. That energy can be acute, as from a car crash or a two-story fall, or chronic, from low-energy repetitive activities. The latter is responsible for stress fractures, an overuse injury commonly seen in athletes. The increased demand placed on the bone causes it to remodel and become stronger in areas of higher stress, but if the repetitive demands become too great, a stress fracture can result.