Osteoporosis Quiz: What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis FAQs

Take the Osteoporosis Quiz First! Before reading this FAQ, challenge yourself and Test your Knowledge!

Q:What is another medical term for osteoporosis?

A:Osteoporosis, or porous bones, is a bone disease characterized by bone loss, or the body's inability to make new bone. The bones lose mass and density, and a person with osteoporosis is more prone to fractures, especially of the hip, spine, and waist. About 54 million people in the U.S. have osteoporosis and low bone mass. Approximately half of all women and up to one quarter of men age 50 and older will fracture a bone due to the disease.

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Q:Bones are composed of calcium and what other substance?

A:Collagen.

Bone is made up mostly of collagen, along with the mineral calcium. The collagen provides the soft framework, and calcium provides strength. This combination makes bones flexible and strong at the same time so they can withstand stress.

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Q:I may not be aware of my osteoporosis until I suffer a fracture. True or False?

A:True.

Many people do not realize they have osteoporosis until a fracture occurs or spinal vertebrae collapse, which is why osteoporosis is often referred to as a “silent disease.” Bone loss can occur gradually over time with no symptoms. Osteoporosis causes bones to become so fragile that fractures can occur even after minor falls, or normal stresses and strains on bones.

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Q:What is the function of vitamin D?

A:Vitamin D is required to absorb calcium from the intestine, so it is important in maintaining healthy bones and reducing the risk of developing osteoporosis.

Unlike calcium that you can only get from food, your body makes vitamin D when you are exposed to sunlight. A few foods such as fatty fish, egg yolks, beef liver, and cheese have vitamin D, as do some foods that are fortified with the vitamin, but foods alone are not enough to get adequate amounts.

Vitamin D supplements can be taken to help you meet the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 600 International Units (IU) for men and women up to age 70 and 800 IU for adults over age 70. Vitamin D can be found in multivitamins and in supplements in combination with calcium. Getting too much vitamin D, especially over 2,000 IU daily, is not advised unless prescribed by a doctor. Many dietary supplements contain vitamin D, so check the dose in each to make sure you do not take too much.

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Q:How is bone density measured?

A:A bone mineral density (BMD) test is a type of low-dose X-ray that measures the amount of calcium and other minerals present in your bones. It is the only test that can diagnose osteoporosis.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends bone mineral density tests for:
- Women 65 and older and men 70 and older
- Anyone who has broken a bone after age 50
- Women of menopausal or postmenopausal age with risk factors
- Men age 50-69 with risk factors

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Q:About 20% of people with osteoporosis are men. True or False?

A:True.

While osteoporosis affects women at a higher rate, about 20% of patients with osteoporosis are men. About 2 million men in the U.S have osteoporosis, and 12 million more are at risk of developing the condition. Risk factors that make women more prone to osteoporosis also apply to men, including:

- Family history
- Use of steroid medications
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Smoking
- Excess alcohol consumption
- Low testosterone levels
- Low estrogen levels in men
- Medical problems such as chronic kidney, lung or gastrointestinal disease, prostate cancer and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

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