What Is Osteoporosis?

By albert
Reviewed: Dr. Gromatzky
Apr 8, 2020
Medical Expert Medical Expert

The term osteoporosis stands for porous bones. This does not mean that normal bones are nonporous. In fact, healthy bones have small spaces in them. However, osteoporosis increases the sizes of these spaces. The disease is characterized by reduced bone density, which increases the risk of fracturing. The World Health Organization defines osteoporosis as a condition in which bone mineral density (BMD) is 2.5 standard deviations or more below the young adult mean value.

A normal bone has a BMD of higher than -1, while a bone with osteopenia, or bone weakness, has a score of between -1 and -2.5. Osteoporosis has a score of less than -2.5. The condition is common in old people, especially females, but it can occur in persons of any age.

1. Symptoms of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is usually asymptomatic, even in patients with very low densities, until a fracture occurs. The usual sites of pain are the neck and lower back. The most common sites of fractures due to osteoporosis are the forearm, medically known as Colles fracture, spine or vertebral fracture, and femur or hip fractures. Vertebral fractures are usually followed by abdominal protuberance and acute or chronic back pain. Other low impact fractures may occur elsewhere. It is estimated that more than 1.5 million osteoporosis-related fractures are treated in United States medical facilities yearly.


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