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Preventing Osteoporosis: 4 Crucial Questions You Need to Ask

Did you know that more than 50 percent of people aged 50 and over are affected by osteoporosis? That's a substantial risk rate.

While osteoporosis is often thought of as an older person's disease, it can strike at any age. Are your bones as strong as they could be? Read on and find out if there are more steps you can take to avoid osteoporosis.

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A silent disease

Osteoporosis is a metabolic disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. It is often a silent disease in that, if not prevented or if left untreated, it progresses painlessly until a bone breaks. There are four types of osteoporosis:

Post-menopausal Osteoporosis (Type 1) occurs in women several years after menopause. After menopause, women's ovaries produce less oestrogen. Oestrogen is responsible for regulating bone growth and absorption, and therefore bone density decreases. As much as 2-3 percent of overall bone mass can be lost each year, reaching up to 50 percent of bone loss by the age of 70 or 80.

Senile Osteoporosis (Type II) can affect both men and women over the age of 70. Bone mineral density peaks at around the age of 35, and decreases gradually after this. Thus the risks associated with osteoporosis increase with age.

Secondary Osteoporosis describes osteoporosis caused by the use of a drug or as a complication related to another condition such as kidney failure, hyperthyroidism, anorexia, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and a number of other illnesses.

Idiopathic Juvenile Osteoporosis is a very rare form of the disease, which affects some children or adolescents for no known reason. The disease usually occurs just before puberty.

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