What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become weak, leading to an increased risk of fracture. 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50 will experience a fracture due to osteoporosis. The most commonly affected sites are the wrists, hips and spine.

Women are more susceptible to osteoporosis than men and tend to experience a greater degree of bone loss after the menopause. However, the condition can affect men and women of any age, and if someone is frequently breaking bones, then osteoporosis may be considered as a possible diagnosis.

How is osteoporosis treated?

If osteoporosis is suspected, your doctor may calculate your future fracture risk using a tool such as the “FRAX” score (see below for more information about FRAX). This can help determine which the most appropriate treatment for you is.

Types of treatment include lifestyle advice, calcium and vitamin D supplements and a group of drugs called bisphosphonates which help prevent bones from weakening further. An example of a bisphosphonate might be alendronate or risedronate. It is important that you have regular follow up when on bisphosphonates, as taking them for too long can increase your risk of having an “atypical” fracture. See the links below for more information about medications.

Where can I find out more about osteoporosis?

Royal Osteoporosis Society  offers information about the condition, and what causes it and treatment and lifestyle advice


National Osteoporosis Guideline Group


  • FRAX Score – a tool for professionals to assess future risk of fracture in patients

Last updated: February 6, 2020