Skip to main content
Two women smiling Two women smiling

What is osteoporosis?


Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue, which can lead to increased risk of fracture.

Known as the “silent thief”, bone deterioration can occur over a number of years without any symptoms. Unfortunately, by the time affected bones break or fracture, the disease is already fairly advanced and less treatable.

The most common fractures associated with osteoporosis are in the hip, spine, wrist, and shoulder.

Today, no single cause for osteoporosis has been identified.

Bone deterioration difference

The Prevalence of Osteoporosis

While Osteoporosis can affect people at almost any age, it is most common among Canadians 50 years of age or older.

  • 2.3 million Canadians are living with osteoporosis
  • At least 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will break a bone due to osteoporosis in their lifetime
  • Fragility fractures represent 80% of all fractures in menopausal women over the age of 50
  • Fractures from osteoporosis are more common than heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined
Prevalance of Osteoporosis

The Impact of Osteoporosis

People living with osteoporosis face a reduced quality of life, lowered self-esteem, reduction or loss of mobility, disfigurement, a lack of independence and in some cases, death – 22% of women and 33% of men who suffer a hip fracture will die within the following year.

For many Canadians, osteoporosis means they can’t live the life they want to – and we’re working to change that!

Portrait of woman

Signs & Symptoms

Osteoporosis is a disease that takes years to develop without any warning symptoms. Bone mineral is gradually lost, making the bones weaker and more prone to fracturing or breaking.

Portrait of a man

Men & Osteoporosis

The misconception is that men don’t get osteoporosis. The fact is that men frequently get osteoporosis and all too many of them are unknowingly suffering the consequences of this disease.

Medical professional using a tablet

Secondary Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis that results from having another disease or condition or from the treatment of another condition is called secondary osteoporosis. 

Hands holding each other

Osteoporosis & Osteoarthritis

Despite the fact that osteoporosis, arthritis and osteoarthritis (a form of arthritis) are completely different conditions, they are frequently confused, in particular osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, because both names start with “osteo.”

© Osteoporosis Canada, 2024
Charitable Registration No. 89551 0931 RR 0001