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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Useful information

Information for patients

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis (thinning of the bones) is a common condition affecting 50 percent of women and 20 percent of men over the age of 55 years.

In Oxfordshire alone there are over 22,000 women with osteoporosis, with around 500 hip fractures each year.

You cannot see or feel your bones getting thinner, so many people are unaware of any problems until they break a bone or start to lose height.

Who is at risk of osteoporosis?

Those at increased risk of osteoporosis include the following.

  • Post-menopausal women who smoke or drink heavily, have a family history of hip fractures, or have a body mass index (BMI) of less than 21.
  • Women who have had an early menopause, or those who have had their ovaries removed under the age of 45.
  • Women with a BMI of less than 19.
  • Men or women taking oral steroids or corticosteroids for more than three months, as these medicines can contribute to weakening bones.

Certain diseases are also associated with reduced bone strength, such as:

  • Crohn's
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis
  • Chronic Liver Disease
  • Coeliac Disease.

If you think you are at risk, discuss it further with your GP. You may need a special scan called a Bone Densitometry (DEXA) scan, which measures bone density.

Useful links

Patient information

Exercise and Osteoporosis -

OUH leaflets

Please see Patient information leaflets library

Calcium Leaflets

Treatments for Osteoporosis (Information from the National Osteoporosis Society)