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is a long-term medical condition that causes your bones to become weak, brittle, and more likely to fracture. Osteoporosis occurs when your body absorbs more bone than it makes. It is also caused by a lack of calcium and estrogen (female hormone).
Common symptoms include the following:
You may not have any signs or symptoms. You may break a bone after a muscle strain, bump, or fall. A break usually occurs in the hip, spine, or wrist. A collapsed vertebra (bone in your spine) may cause severe back pain or loss of height from bent posture.
Call your doctor if:
- You have severe pain.
- You have increasing pain after a fall.
- You have pain when you do your daily activities.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Diagnosis of osteoporosis:
- Blood and urine tests measure your calcium, vitamin D, and estrogen levels.
- An x-ray or CT may show thinned bones or a fracture. You may be given contrast liquid to help the bones show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
- A bone density test compares your bone thickness with what is expected for someone of your age, gender, and ethnicity.
Treatment for osteoporosis
may include medicines to prevent bone loss, build new bone, and increase estrogen. These medicines help prevent fractures and may be given as a pill or injection. Ask your healthcare provider for more information on these medicines.
Prevent bone loss:
- Eat healthy foods that are high in calcium. This helps keep your bones strong. Good sources of calcium are milk, cheese, broccoli, tofu, almonds, and canned salmon and sardines.
- Increase your vitamin D intake. Vitamin D is in fish oils, some vegetables, and fortified milk, cereal, and bread. Vitamin D is also formed in the skin when it is exposed to the sun. Ask your healthcare provider how much sunlight is safe for you.
- Drink liquids as directed. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Do not have alcohol or caffeine. They decrease bone mineral density, which can weaken your bones.
- Exercise regularly. Ask your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you. Weight bearing exercise for 30 minutes, 3 times a week can help build and strengthen bone.
- Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause lung damage. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
- Go to physical therapy as directed. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and muscle strength.
Follow up with your doctor as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Learn more about Osteoporosis (Ambulatory Care)
IBM Watson Micromedex
Symptoms and treatments
Mayo Clinic Reference
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