Osteoporosis is a disease that thins and weakens bones to the point where they break easily--especially bones in the hip, spine, and wrist. Osteoporosis is called the "silent disease" because you may not notice any symptoms. People can lose bone over many years but not know they have osteoporosis until a bone breaks. About 25 million Americans have osteoporosis--80 percent are women.

Experts do not fully understand all the causes of osteoporosis. They do know that when women go through menopause, levels of the female hormone estrogen drop. Lower hormone levels can lead to bone loss and osteoporosis. Other causes of bone loss and osteoporosis include a diet too low in calcium and not getting enough exercise.

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