Osteoporosis develops when your bones lose minerals faster than your body replaces them, so that your bones become fragile and brittle. The more fragile your bones are, the more likely they are to fracture or break when pressure is placed on them. While most people might end up with a muscle strain or bruise, people with osteoporosis can end up with a broken rib just from a cough or sneeze, or experience a hip fracture after tripping over an uneven surface or slipping on a wet bathroom/shower floor.
Osteoporosis can significantly affect day-to-day activities. Just over one-third of people with osteoporosis experience some limitations to their daily activities and 15% experience severe restrictions in their daily life.
This might mean being unable to continue a favourite activity, like dancing or riding a bike, or perhaps having to use a walker or wheelchair because of instability or pain.
Effective medicines are available to treat osteoporosis and help avoid fractures. Improving your diet and lifestyle and reducing your risk of falls can also help.
Complications of osteoporosis
The most common osteoporotic fractures happen in the hips, spine and wrists. These types of fractures can cause long-term pain, disability and loss of independence.
Osteoporotic fractures that occur in the spine can also lead to changes in your posture (eg, stooped back) and loss of height.