By Debra Stork, Chartered Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor
What is Osteoporosis?
Bone loss slowly increases as part of the natural ageing process. This can lead to weaker bones and an increased risk of broken bones, also known as osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” If you look at healthy bone under a microscope, you will see that parts of it look like a honeycomb. If you have osteoporosis, the holes and spaces in the honeycomb are much bigger than they are in healthy bone. This means your bones have lost density or mass and that the structure of your bone tissue has become abnormal.
As your bones become less dense, they also become weaker and more likely to break, especially later in life and often following a minor bump or fall. Having osteoporosis does not automatically mean that your bones will break; it just means that you are at greater risk. The main reasons why people develop osteoporosis are genes, age and gender. Women are particularly susceptible because bone loss becomes more rapid for several years following the menopause. Other risk factors include smoking, drinking more than three units of alcohol a day and not being active. If you are worried about osteoporosis talk to your doctor or physiotherapist for advice. They will also be able to advise you on what types of exercise would be suitable for you.