Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the bones, causing them to become weak and fragile and more likely to break (fracture). These fractures most commonly occur in the spine, wrist and hips, but can affect other bones such as the spine, arm or pelvis.
From about the age of 35, you gradually lose bone density, which is the amount of calcium and other minerals in your bones. This is a normal part of ageing, but in some people their bone density is very low (osteoporosis) and they have an increased risk of fractures.
There are often no warning signs for osteoporosis until someone experiences a fracture, usually after a minor fall.
If your doctor suspects you have osteoporosis, or are at high risk of developing the condition, you may be referred for a bone density scan.
Treatment for osteoporosis is based on treating and preventing fractures and using medication to strengthen your bones.
Last reviewed: September 2017