Your skeleton is a living thing which is continually renewing itself with new bone. The basic structure does not change with age but its density and strength reduces.

For some of us, the bone will be lost much faster than new bone can be formed to replace it. If this happens, bones can become so fragile that they are liable to break very easily. This condition is known as osteoporosis.

It is a silent disease which goes unnoticed and is usually painless in the early stages.It can begin anywhere from 5 to 20 years before the menopause.

Risk Factors

The following place you at high risk of osteoporosis :

If you are aware of a history of osteoporosis in your family, you would be well advised to ask for bone density testing.

My mother is only 69 years old, yet she has a hunchback that results in severe back pain that prevents her from sitting for long periods of time.

She has lost 6 cm in height, has problems finding suitable clothing and can wear only sports shoes to prevent possible falls.

She was diagnosed as suffering from severe osteoporosis nearly 20 years after the onset of her menopause.

I am not taking any chances. I take HRT and daily calcium supplements, and undergo bone density testing every two years - Sarah (Israel)

Osteoporosis can be treated. There is a range of medications and treatments available which have been shown to be effective in slowing down or halting bone loss.Your bones can benefit from HRT but only if it is taken long-term.

The Framlingham Study (a long-term American health research project begun in 1948) revealed in 1993 that: