What is osteoperosis?

Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones that occurs over many years and can become quite severe, to the point that bones may break from a minor fall or even from sneezing or bumping furniture.

Causes and risk factors

Osteoporosis can be the result of many factors, including:

  • In women, a decrease in the hormone estrogen that happens during menopause
  • In men, a decrease in testosterone as they get older
  • An overactive parathyroid gland that causes the bones to lose their density and hardness

Osteopenia, or low bone mass, is a more moderate decline in bone density than osteoporosis.

Last reviewed: 
July 2016

Interested in using our health content?