What is Osteoporosis?


Osteoporosis is a condition which is characterised by low bone mineral density. As a result, it causes bones to become brittle, weak and greatly increases the risk of fractures as the condition progresses.


According to Osteoporosis Australia, approximately 4.74 million Australians over 50 years of age are currently diagnosed as having osteoporosis, osteopenia (precursor to osteoporosis) or poor bone health. It is also suspected that osteoporosis is under-diagnosed and many Australians with the condition go undetected. As improvements in detection methods and public awareness increases, it is expected that this number may increase significantly over the next decade.

Furthermore, due to the nature of the condition causing bone weakness, there is also a large quantity of osteoporotic-related fractures which occur each year. In 2013, there were 144,000 recorded fractures which were specifically associated with osteoporosis or osteopenia.

It is estimated that over the next decade osteoporosis, osteopenia and their related fractures will place an additional $33.6 billion dollar burden on the Australian healthcare system.


Osteoporosis can occur at any age, however, is far more likely to occur later in life – particularly in individuals over 50 years old. Similar to other tissue within the body, bones are constantly being reabsorbed, recycled and redeposited. This allows minerals such as phosphorous and calcium to be redistributed throughout the skeletal system to help maintain, repair and adapt bone as necessary to suit our lifestyles. Typically, both males and females reach their peak bone density around 30 years of age and after this stage bone reabsorption starts to occur faster than new bone is deposited, as shown in figure 1. This results in a gradual loss of bone mineral density as we age and can eventually lead to osteopenia or osteoporosis if bone mineral density drops too low. It should also be noted that after approximately 50 years of age, women experience an accelerated level of bone mineral loss due to menopause which causes a decrease in circulating oestrogen (hormone) levels and places females at an increased risk of c developing osteoporosis.


As previously mentioned, osteoporosis can go undetected as signs and symptoms are not always present or obvious in individuals who have the condition. Although, some indicators may still be present such as:

  • Loss of height
  • Back pain – due to vertebral fractures
  • Hunched/stooped posture
  • Bone fractures – especially if they occur from minor trauma


Osteoporosis/osteopenia can easily be detected via a non-evasive procedure called a DEXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) scan which measures bone density via the use of low-energy X-rays. If you are concerned that you may have or may develop osteoporosis/osteopenia please consult your physician.


Prevention and management strategies are very similar when it comes to osteoporosis. Maintaining a healthy diet and active lifestyle are key factors in the fight against osteoporosis. The following are some helpful tips to improve your bone health and assist with preventing/managing osteoporosis:

  • Perform regular physical activity. Weight-bearing activities which place force/stress on the skeletal system stimulate bone growth and are very important during the first two decades of life when the majority of our bone is developed. Examples of weight-bearing activities include: resistance/weight training, brisk walking, dancing, yoga etc. Please consult an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist for more information.
  • Ensure you are ingesting an adequate level of calcium (approximately 1,200mg; 3-4 serves of dairy products) and maintain a healthy diet. Please consult a dietician for more information and to address your specific dietary requirements.
  • Maintain adequate vitamin D levels. It is recommended that Australians achieve 5-15minutes of sun exposure 4-6times per week in order to maintain appropriate vitamin D levels. Furthermore, individuals should avoid direct sunlight during 10am-2pm due to dangerous levels of ultraviolet light exposure.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine intake. Alcohol consumption of more than two standard drinks per day has been linked with an increased risk of developing osteoporosis as well as an increase in fracture rates. Similarly, high levels of caffeine intake have also been identified as a risk factor for osteoporosis and caffeine should be limited to a maximum of three cups of tea or coffee.
  • Avoid/cease smoking. Smoking has been associated with an increased risk of developing osteoporosis.

Ready to make an appointment with ProHealth EP?

Our clinic is leading the way for healthcare and like minded practitioners, by providing exceptional knowledge, care and treatment with an innovative approach and client-centered care.

Billy and Kim GrahamBilly and Kim Graham
00:28 25 Aug 22
This is definitely the place to go!! I use the heated pool!!! Beautiful!!! I have a great guide, companion, teacher, encourager in Robbie Brokenshire!! 😃He is compassionate and thorough!!I really enjoy myself, have a laugh, and we get the job done!!!So I absolutely recommend ProhHealth Exercise Physiology here in Redcliffe!!!
Terence GiddingsTerence Giddings
00:27 08 Jul 22
I have been a client with ProHealth for the last two-plus years. I have several chronic conditions, and working with Robbie Brokenshire and the ProHealth team has enabled me to lead a relatively everyday life.I would undoubtedly recommend ProHealth to anyone.
Jan HawesJan Hawes
07:00 24 Jun 22
I have been working with ProHealth for the past few months. All the team are friendly and professional. Strongly recommend them. It is never too late to start exercising.
Mike DickinsonMike Dickinson
23:45 19 Jun 22
Awesome trainers. Friendly staff. Great facilities. As a retired Veteran I 100% recommend to any Veterans or members of the public. They can tailor the exercise packages to meet a variety of needs. Thanks to Brooke (my PT) and the whole team.
Jocelyn GreerJocelyn Greer
00:39 19 Jun 22
Would 100% recommend Steph at ProHealth. My son who has special needs attends once a week for exercise physiology classes and Steph is fantastic. She is kind, friendly and great at her job. James feels very comfortable with her and he is making great progress.