Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle so brittle that a fall or even mild stresses like bending over or coughing can cause a fracture. Osteoporosis-related fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine. Bone is living tissue that is constantly being broken down and replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone doesn't keep up with the removal of old bone. Osteoporosis affects men and women of all races especially older women who are past menopause are at highest risk. Medications, healthy diet and weight-bearing exercise can help prevent bone loss or strengthen already weak bones. Your bones are in a constant state of renewal new bone is made and old bone is broken down. When you're young, your body makes new bone faster than it breaks down old bone and your bone mass increases. Most people reach their peak bone mass by their early 20s. As people age, bone mass is lost faster than it's created. How likely you are to develop osteoporosis depends partly on how much bone mass you attained in your youth. The higher your peak bone mass, the more bone you have "in the bank" and the less likely you are to develop osteoporosis as you age.