What Is Osteoporosis?

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By dr. gromatzky
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. Ganesan K, Jandu JS, Roane D. Osteoporosis (Secondary) [Updated 2020 Jun 30]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470166/
  • 2. Pouresmaeili F, Kamalidehghan B, Kamarehei M, Goh YM. A comprehensive overview on osteoporosis and its risk factors. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2018;14:2029-2049. Published 2018 Nov 6. doi:10.2147/TCRM.S138000
  • 3. Varacallo M, Seaman TJ, Jandu JS, et al. Osteopenia. [Updated 2020 Apr 27]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499878/
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Bones typically break from a high impact trauma. But what about when a bone breaks from a not so traumatic experience? A break that occurs because of an underlying condition is called a “pathological fracture” and often it is due to a bone disorder called osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a common disorder that causes bones to become brittle and to fracture more easily. About 20-25 million people are affected in the United States.1Ganesan K, Jandu JS, Roane D. Osteoporosis (Secondary) [Updated 2020 Jun 30]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470166/ It can be caused by a variety of ailments and, depending on the reason it is occurring, can be classified as primary or secondary. There is a spectrum to osteoporosis with osteopenia being the precursor. Once diagnosed, there are well-studied treatments to help build the bone density back up.

1. Primary and Secondary Osteoporosis

A diagnosis of osteoporosis can be categorized as primary or secondary. Primary osteoporosis is more common and is due to age-related changes of the body. For example, the hormonal changes that occur in postmenopausal women may cause a decrease in bone density. Another cause of primary osteoporosis is a deficit in the body’s ability to utilize the minerals to keep bones strong.

Secondary osteoporosis is due to some underlying disease or condition. These underlying causes include, but are not limited to, hormonal issues, problems with the digestive system, disorders having to do with blood, autoimmune disorders, a disease of the kidneys, or certain medications.1Ganesan K, Jandu JS, Roane D. Osteoporosis (Secondary) [Updated 2020 Jun 30]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470166/

Osteoporosis

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