Updated 11 February 2013

10 facts on osteoporosis

Most people, when they hear the word "osteoporosis", think of older women and brittle bones and hip fractures. But that's not always the case.

Most people, when they hear the word "osteoporosis", think of older women and brittle bones and hip fractures.

But here are some interesting facts about the condition that you might not have known:

  • The word "osteoporosis" comes from the Greek words "osteon" meaning bone, and "poros", meaning a pore or a passage.
  • Osteoporosis is not a condition exclusive to the elderly – it can strike at any age.
  • Caucasians and Asians have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis than other people do.
  • People who drink a lot of coffee and alcohol and who smoke cigarettes, are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis than others are.
  • In western populations, the statistics are that one in two women and one in four men could suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.
  • The rate of hip fractures is two to three times higher in women than in men.
  • People who are thin or who have a small frame, are at greater risk for osteoporosis.
  • Women can lose up to 20% of their bone mass in the 5 – 7 years following menopause.
  • Hormone replacement therapy used to be prescribed on the long-term for postmenopausal women, but it is now thought to carry risks for heart health if taken in the long-term.
  • Men tend to develop osteoporosis 10 – 15 years later than women do, because they are generally bulkier and have more bone mass to lose.

National Osteoporosis Foundation of South Africa
PO Box 481

Tel. (021)-931 7894

Visit Health24's Osteoporosis Centre


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