Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” If you look at healthy bone under a microscope, you will see that parts of it look like a honeycomb. If you have osteoporosis, the holes and spaces in the honeycomb are much bigger than they are in healthy bone. This means your bones have lost density or mass. It also means that the structure of your bone tissues has become abnormal. As your bones become less dense, they become weaker.
For some people affected by the disease, simple activities such as lifting a child, bending down to pick up a newspaper, bumping into furniture or even sneezing can cause a bone to break. A person with osteoporosis is most likely to break a bone in the hip, spine or wrist. However, other bones may also be affected by the disease.
If you’re age 50 or older and have broken a bone, you should talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider about getting a bone density test. This is the case, even if you break a bone after a serious accident. Broken bones are often related to osteoporosis, except for breaks in the fingers, toes, face and skull.