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What exactly is osteoporosis, also known as the ``silent thief`` or the “silent epidemic”?


Under normal circumstances, there is a balance between the processes of bone building and bone breakdown, and so bones are constantly renewed. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone is less and slower than the loss of bone substance.



The human skeletal system consists of over 200 bones, each with a specific place and function in the human body. Osteoporosis is a progressive disease of the skeleton characterized by reduced bone mass and structural changes to bone tissue that lead to increased fragility and subsequent risk of fractures. Because the process of bone loss and thinning progresses slowly and unnoticeably over the years, osteoporosis has been cleverly labeled the “Silent Thief.”

Predisposing factors for Osteoporosis:

  • Senior age – often characterized by so- called senile (old age) osteoporosis, in which fractures of the femoral neck are most common;
  • Post-menopausal or early menopausal condition (occurring before the age of 45 either naturally or after surgical removal of the ovaries), in which the most common type of osteoporosis is seen with fractures of the vertebrae and the lower third of the forearm;
  • Presence of certain diseases – diabetes mellitus, hyperactive thyroid gland, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic liver and kidney diseases, leukaemia, and others;
  • Prolonged treatment with medications damaging the bone structure – corticosteroids, antiepileptic drugs, thyroid hormones, endocrine therapy after cancer treatment, etc;
  • Heredity;
  • Gracile body build characterized by fine bone structure, short height and underweight;
  • People of Caucasian or Asian race.

The most common consequences of osteoporosis are:

  • Back and low back pain of a chronic nature that is exacerbated by physical effort;
  • Skeletal deformities;
  • Reduction in height;
  • Decreased ability to work;
  • Bone fractures of the skeleton (most commonly of the vertebrae of the spine, the bones of the forearm and, in later life, of the femur).

The estimated number of individuals with osteoporosis in Bulgaria 2019 is approximately 420,000 (5.6% of the total population). Approximately 56,000 new fragility fractures occurred in 2019, estimated to increase by 8.3% in 2034 (61,000 fractures in 2034). The proportion of women at high fracture risk who did not receive treatment (treatment gap) is 88% in 2019.

More detailed information about the disease with tips for treatment and for living with it can be found here: https://www.krehkikosti.bg/

Many interesting facts and statistics on a worldwide and local scale related to osteoporosis can be found on the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) website https://www.osteoporosis.foundation/facts-statistics.