What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a chronic (long-term) bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone or makes too little bone, or both. Osteoporosis means “porous bone,” and causes bones to become weak, brittle and break easily.
Bones are living, growing tissue that are constantly being broken down and rebuilt. Bones are built with calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus and protein. When the growth of new bone doesn’t keep up with the loss of old bone, osteoporosis or osteopenia usually occurs. The most common place for osteoporosis-related fractures are hips, wrists or spine, although bones can break anywhere in your body.
What is osteopenia?
Osteopenia is low bone density and, without treatment, it often develops into the more damaging and serious disease of osteoporosis.
How common are osteoporosis and osteopenia?
About 54 million Americans have osteoporosis or osteopenia. About 80% of osteoporosis patients are women. Half of all women in the United States will have a bone fracture due to osteoporosis during their lifetime. About 25% of men aged 50 and older will have a osteoporotic fracture. Of the more than 34 million people with osteopenia in the United States, cases are almost evenly divided between women and men.
What is secondary osteoporosis?
Secondary osteoporosis can cause the same problems as osteoporosis, but it’s caused by a number of medical problems. These can include endocrine disorders (diabetes and thyroid disease among others), side effects of medication, lack of exercise, stomach and intestinal disorders, kidney disease or failure, cancer, and pituitary diseases, such as Cushing’s disease, hyperprolactinemia, acromegaly, and hypopituitarism.
Is osteoporosis an endocrine gland disorder?
Endocrine disorders can play a causative role in the development of osteoporosis and osteopenia. Endocrine diseases can disrupt hormone production. If this disruption happens, it can directly affect bone growth, and the normal process of bone being broken down and rebuilt, called remodeling. Osteoporosis is the most common metabolic bone disease. Bone density often increases after an endocrine disorder is diagnosed and treated.
Why should I worry about osteoporosis or osteopenia?
Untreated osteoporosis increases your risk of bone fractures, bone deformities, permanent pain, disability, lack of mobility and death. Breaking a bone, especially a hip, is especially serious for older patients. It often results in permanent disability, requiring nursing home or community-based long-term care. Osteoporosis causes some patients to lose height. When osteoporosis causes broken spinal vertebrae, it often causes a permanently stooped posture.