Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of the bone resulting in an increased susceptibility to fractures. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis affects 10 million Americans and causes 700,000 vertebral fractures annually.

Nearly all vertebral fractures in reasonably healthy people are due to osteoporosis and can occur from a minor impact such as a bump or fall. People may not realize they have osteoporosis, because the disease is symptomless until a fracture occurs.

Multiple vertebral fractures can result in:

  • Chronic pain and disability
  • Loss of independent
  • Stooped posture
  • Compression of the lungs and stomach

Risk Factors for Osteoporosis

Factors that increase the likelihood of developing osteoporosis include:

  • Abnormal absence of menstrual periods
  • Advanced age
  • Anorexia or bulimia
  • Being female
  • Being past menopause
  • Being thin or having a small frame
  • Diet low in calcium
  • Excessive use of alcohol
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Lack of exercise
  • Long-term use of corticosteroids or anticonvulsant medications
  • Smoking