Post written by Sandra T. Hao, M.D.
Osteoporosis happens when you lose too much bone, make too little of it or both. It makes a person’s bones weak and more likely to break.
Approximately 9 million adults in the U.S. have osteoporosis. About one in two women and nearly one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis.
People with osteoporosis cannot feel their bones getting weaker. Many people don’t know they have the disease until they break a bone. People with osteoporosis most often break a bone in the hip, spine or wrist.
A person with osteoporosis can break a bone from a minor fall or simply by lifting a child, bumping into furniture, bending over, coughing or even sneezing. These breaks can cause severe pain.
However, over half the people who suffer broken bones of the spine experience no pain at all. They become shorter and their spine may start to curve forward making it hard to stand up straight; they could have difficulty breathing as well.