Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become porous and weak, and therefore fracture easily. The bone tissue is normal with a normal shape but it has lost mass and density and so lacks sufficient strength to withstand the forces which normally occur in daily life. There are no symptoms initially and the condition is often diagnosed only when a bone fracture occurs unexpectedly. These fractures occur in a third of all women and in one in twelve men. Post-menopausal and senile osteoporosis are recognized. The former is due to loss of oestrogen, the latter includes a time-dependent loss of bone common to men and women. Osteoporosis also occurs as a side-effect of some drug treatments, with oral corticosteroids for example, and occasionally, in a severe and little understood form at much younger ages.
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