All Children's Hospital Logo

Health Information Library

Parents > A to Z > O > A to Z: Osteoporosis
A to Z: Osteoporosis

A to Z: Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis (say: oss-tee-oh-puh-RO-sis) is a disease that weakens the bones, causing them to become brittle and easily fractured. It mostly affects older people, and women are much more likely to develop it than men.

More to Know

Bones are made up of spongy living tissue that is constantly breaking down and rebuilding. When bone growth can't keep up with bone loss, osteoporosis occurs.

Bone loss is largely due to age, but also can be a result of hormone problems, poor diet, certain medications, and excessive alcohol or tobacco use. People with osteoporosis may fracture their hips, wrist, or spine. They may also have back pain, poor posture, and a decrease in height.

Treatment for osteoporosis usually includes medications, vitamin D, and calcium supplements to improve bone density. Diet and exercise, especially weight training, can also help strengthen bones. Avoiding hazards that can cause falls is always good practice for someone with osteoporosis.

Keep in Mind

Exercising regularly and eating a calcium-rich diet (milk, cheese, yogurt, green leafy vegetables, fortified orange juice, etc.) is the best way for kids and teens to build healthy, strong bones now to avoid osteoporosis later.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

Related Articles
T    5 Reasons for Girls to Play Sports
P    Bones, Muscles, and Joints
T    Bones, Muscles, and Joints
T    Calcium
P    Calcium and Your Child
T    Do I Need to Drink Milk?
T    Mineral Chart
P    Nutrition & Fitness Center
K    Nutrition & Fitness Center
T    Nutrition & Fitness Center
K    Osteoporosis
T    Vitamin D
K    Why Do People Shrink?
K    Your Bones
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2014 KidsHealth® All rights reserved. Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com

Additional Info

Pocket Doc Mobile App
Maps and Locations (Mobile)
Programs & Services
Employment
For Health Professionals
For Patients & Families
Contact Us
Find a Doctor
News
CME

All Children's Hospital
501 6th Ave South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 898-7451
(800) 456-4543

Use Normal Template
© 2014 All Children's Hospital - All Rights Reserved