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Is osteoporosis life-threatening?

Dr. Aruna V. Josyula, MD
Geriatric Medicine Specialist

Fractures from osteoporosis can cause pain, increased dependence on caregivers and even death. Data indicate an increased risk for death in the first year after a hip fracture. Anything a person can do to avoid the disease in the first place lessens his or her risk for death.

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.

Patricia Geraghty, NP
Women's Health

The problems caused by osteoporosis can be life threatening. The weakening of the bones, along with weakened muscle tone and poor balance increase the risk of fractures. If a weight bearing bone, such as the hip, is fractured, the risk of serious negative changes in lifesyle are very high. In women with a hip fracture the risk of permanent disability is 46 percent and the risk of death within the follow year increases by 20 percent.

Osteoporosis is a general term for weakening of the bones. As a disease, osteoporosis is not life-threatening. However, we do know that people who have osteoporotic fractures have increased rates of death, mainly due to becoming debilitated and developing complications, including breakdown in skin, infections and blood clots.

Osteoporosis is not usually life-threatening. It is important to exercise, maintain a healthy diet and take your medications. If you have a fracture from osteoporosis it will certainly affect your lifestyle while the bones heal. About half of the people who have a hip fracture will need help walking after the hip heals.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.