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A to Z: Osteoporosis, Disuse

Disuse osteoporosis (oss-tee-oh-puh-RO-sis) is bone loss that results from not enough stress or pressure on the bones, whether it’s in one specific area or throughout the entire body. As a result, bones become brittle and weak, causing them to fracture easily.

More to Know

Bones are made up of spongy living tissue that is constantly breaking down and rebuilding. When bone growth can’t keep up with bone loss, osteoporosis occurs.

Calcium and vitamin D in the diet, putting stress on the bones through exercise, and weight-bearing pressure help build bone. Disuse osteoporosis occurs when a person is not able to put weight on the bones, which causes them to lose density and become weak. Disuse osteoporosis happens mostly to people who are on extended bed rest, paralyzed from an injury, or wearing a cast.

Treatment for disuse osteoporosis usually includes medications and calcium supplements to improve bone density. Electrical stimulation also can be used to build and strengthen the muscles surrounding the damaged area, which helps rebuild the bone.

Keep in Mind

Exercising regularly and eating a calcium-rich diet (like milk, cheese, yogurt, green leafy vegetables, and citrus fruit) is the best way to build healthy, strong bones to lower the risk of osteoporosis.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.