Osteoporosis is a bone disease characterized by low bone density where the bones become brittle and weak. It occurs when the bone makes too little bone or loses too much bone, or both, resulting in an increased risk of fracture by a fall. Even daily activities such as coughing or sneezing too hard or bending over may cause a bone fracture in patients with osteoporosis. Bone is made up of living tissue that is constantly being regenerated. Osteoporosis occurs when not enough new bone is produced to make up for the deterioration of old bone.
Osteoporosis is sneaky in that most individuals who are affected do not feel their bones weakening until one breaks. It may take years before osteoporosis becomes problematic. Common symptoms of this condition include chronic back pain that radiates down the back on both sides of the body and curving of the spine that may cause a visible hunched-back, often called a dowager hump, in elderly individuals. Recurrent stress fractures, especially in the feet while walking or stepping off a curb, could be a sign of osteoporosis.