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    Mayo Clinic Minute: Osteoporosis is soft bones

Osteoporosis is often called "soft bones."

"Osteoporosis is thinning of the bone to the point where the bones can break," says Dr. Bart Clarke, a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

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Dr. Clark says common breaks from thinning bones occur in the spine, wrist, shoulder and hip.

"Women, in general, past menopause — past the mid-50s — are at  high risk for this because of the degree of bone loss they have due to the lack of estrogen," he says.

The standard screening procedure for osteoporosis is a bone density test. Treatment is a combination of medication, adequate calcium and vitamin D intake, and physical activity.

"So the perception is sometimes we can't fix it if it's a problem," says Dr. Clarke. "It's just the opposite these days."

He says if you have osteoporosis, you need to be careful not to overexert your body, which can lead to fractures. But, in general, simply walking for 30 minutes, three to four days a week, is the right amount of physical activity.