Osteoporosis is the most common disease of the bones. It is defined as a disorder which leads to above average loss of bone mass. The consequences are fractures, with a focus on the spine, thighs and wrists.
Because of the frequency and the high costs, osteoporosis is one of the 10 most important common diseases.
7 to 8% of the population, about 6 million people, suffer from osteoporosis. The costs in Germany amount to 4 - 5 billion Euros per year.
From the age of 50, the risk of suffering a hip fracture doubles with every decade of life because the bone density decreases in women aged 45 and men aged 55.
The insidious thing about this disease is the fact that it cannot be detected in the laboratory or in normal x-ray examinations. Therefore, only 50% of the diseases are properly diagnosed and only 20% are treated. The disease is usually not detected until bones are already broken.
The diagnosis is made with a special X-ray examination, a bone densitometry. Above the age of 60 such an examination is useful.
The pillars of treatment are:
- calcium and vitamin D
- sport (jogging, walking, swimming, cycling)
- healthy diet (rich in calcium, low phosphate)