Atlanta Center for Endocrinology,
Diabetes, Metabolism and Weight Loss

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Osteoporosis and Osteopenia

Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens your skeleton. Certain hormones act to protect bone tissue. When hormone levels are abnormal, bones can lose calcium and weaken. Menopause, in women, and loss of testicle function, in men, and aging may put you at risk for bone fractures. Endocrinologists treat other disorders that can affect bones, such as too much parathyroid hormone and long term use of steroids like prednisone.

If not prevented or if left untreated, osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone breaks. These broken bones, also known as fractures, occur typically in the hip, spine, and wrist. Any bone can be affected, but of special concern are fractures of the hip and spine. A hip fracture almost always requires hospitalization and major surgery.

It can impair a person's ability to walk unassisted and may cause prolonged or permanent disability or even death. Spinal or vertebral fractures also have serious consequences, including loss of height, severe back pain, and deformity. While women are four times more likely than men to develop the disease, men also suffer from osteoporosis. Osteoporosis and osteopenia can be treated with a variety of medications.

Visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation