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Osteoporosis is a disease that causes your bones to become weak and prone to fractures. The bones that tend to be most susceptible to fractures are the spine, the ends of the femurs (thigh bones) at the hips, and the wrists. Hip fractures, which usually occur after a fall, are one of the most serious types of fracture.
Your thigh bones are made up of cortical bone and spongy bone (also called trabecular or cancellous bone). In people with osteoporosis, the structure of the inner, spongy bone becomes weaker because it contains less calcium and other minerals. The outer shell of cortical bone may also become thinner.
There are several risk factors that put people with osteoporosis at higher risk of falling and breaking a bone. These include:
reduced muscle strength or poor balance;
tripping hazards (e.g. rugs or power cords) in the home;
poor eyesight; and
taking medications that cause dizziness or light-headedness.
Following a fall, the most common places for hip fractures to occur are the neck of the femur (thigh bone) and the intertrochanteric region of the femur.
You can help prevent osteoporosis by:
keeping active with regular weight-bearing exercise (e.g. walking);
getting adequate calcium and vitamin D in your diet;
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