Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become very weak and brittle to the extent minor strains such as bending or coughing can result in a fracture, according to Mayo Clinic. Osteoporosis comes about when formation of new bones happens slower than removal of old bones.
Osteoporosis risk factors include aging, gender, race, family history, a small body size frame, low sex hormone levels and thyroid problems. Women, Caucasians and individuals of Asian origin are more likely to develop the condition. People with family history of osteoporosis are also at a greater risk, especially if the condition affected a sibling or parent, notes Mayo Clinic. Other risk factors include a poor diet, certain steroids and medications, gastrointestinal surgery, a sedentary lifestyle, excessive alcohol intake and smoking.
Symptoms of osteoporosis include backache, a loss of height accompanied by a stooped posture and fractures of the wrist, spine or hip. In most cases, however, osteoporosis awareness is triggered by a fracture, explains WebMD. Bone loss can be prevented or slowed by intake of sufficient calcium and vitamin D. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, jogging and dancing; resistance exercises; and aerobics can also be done to increase a person's bone density and strength.