A common condition, particularly among elderly women, osteoporosis is the reduction of bone density.
Osteoporosis affects both the dense cortical portion on the outside of a bone and the spongy bone inside.
Causes include age, low body mass, family history, smoking, malnutrition, alcoholism, insufficient physical activity and certain medications and toxins. It is also associated with a number of chronic diseases.
The primary risk is that of fracture, particularly of the hip, a potentially devastating event in the elderly. In severely osteoporotic patients, healing may be slow and insufficient.
Treatment depends on the cause but includes medication, dietary changes, and exercise.