Reviewed by Barbara L. Goldstein, MD, MMSc

Osteoporosis weakens the bones, making them more likely to break (fracture). Osteoporosis is often called the "silent disease," because bone loss occurs without symptoms. People may not know they have osteoporosis until their bones become so weak that a sudden strain, bump or fall causes a fracture. Osteoporosis can affect any bone in the body, but fractures occur most often in the hip, wrist and spine. A fracture in the spine may cause severe back pain, loss of height or spinal deformities, such as stooped posture or dowager's hump.

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