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(ŏs'tēō'pərō`sĭs), disorder in which the normal replenishment of old bone tissue is severely disrupted, resulting in weakened bones and increased risk of fracture; osteopenia results when bone-mass loss is significant but not as severe as in osteoporosis. Although osteoporosis can occur in anyone, it is most common in thin white women after menopausemenopause
or climacteric
, transitional phase in a woman's life when the ovaries stop releasing eggs, ovarian production of estrogen and other hormones tapers off, and menstruation ceases.
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Bone mass is typically at its greatest during a person's mid-twenties; after that point there is a gradual reduction in bone mass as bone is not replenished as quickly as it is resorbed. In postmenopausal women the production of estrogenestrogen
, any one of a group of hormones synthesized by the reproductive organs and adrenal glands in females and, in lesser quantities, in males. The estrogens cause the thickening of the lining of the uterus and vagina in the early phase of the ovulatory, or menstrual, cycle
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, a hormonehormone,
secretory substance carried from one gland or organ of the body via the bloodstream to more or less specific tissues, where it exerts some influence upon the metabolism of the target tissue.
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 that helps maintain the levels of calcium and other minerals necessary for normal bone regeneration, drops off dramatically, resulting in an accelerated loss of bone mass of up to 3% per year over a period of five to seven years. Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and a sedentary lifestyle increase the risk of bone-mass loss; a diet high in protein and sodium also speed calcium loss. The disorder also has a genetic component. A vitamin D receptor gene that affects calcium uptake and bone density has been identified, and the different forms of this gene appear to correlate with differences in levels of bone density among osteoporosis patients.

Osteoporosis has no early symptoms and is usually not diagnosed until a fracture occurs, typically in the hip, spine, or wrist. A diagnostic bone density test is thus recommended as a preventive measure for women at high risk. Treatment can slow the process or prevent further bone loss. Estrogen replacement therapy for postmenopausal women is effective but has potential side effects. Calcitonin, a thyroid hormone, is administered in some cases. Nonhormonal drugs for the treatment of osteoporosis include alendronate (Fosamax) and risedronate (Actonel), bisphosphonates that decrease bone resorption, and raloxifene (Evista), a selective estrogen receptor modulator that can increase bone mineral density. Teriparatide (Forteo), which consists of the biologically active region of human parathyroid hormone, stimulates the activity of osteoblasts, the specialized cells that form new bone. Dietary and supplemental calcium and vitamin D are usually recommended for people at risk, but a seven-year study of more than 36,000 women over 50 that was released in 2006 found that supplements conferred little benefit. Exercise, including weight training, has been found to strengthen bones directly and to improve muscle strength and balance and thus minimize the chance of falls.


See M. Hegsted, Advances in Nutrition Research, Vol. 9: Nutrition and Osteoporosis (1994).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a thinning of the cancellous and cortical layers of bone as a result of partial bone resorption. Osteoporosis is not an independent disease but a condition that results from local or systemic metabolic disorders. It often occurs in osteomyelitis, Itsenko-Cushing’s disease, inflammatory diseases of the joints, and traumas—especially fractures—in which major blood vessels and nerves are injured. Osteoporosis also frequently arises with frostbite, burns, nervous-system lesions (including poliomyelitis), and toxic conditions (for example, the late stages of cancer). It can arise as a side effect of prednisolone treatment.

Osteoporosis can be detected only by roentgenography. It can be local, regional, disseminated, or systemic and arises in spots or uniform patches. Osteoporosis usually subsides once the underlying disease is cured but does not completely disappear until the function of the affected portion is completely restored. Anabolic hormones are used to treat the disease.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Deossification with absolute decrease in bone tissue, resulting in enlargement of marrow and Haversian spaces, decreased thickness of cortex and trabeculae, and structural weakness.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


porosity and brittleness of the bones due to loss of calcium from the bone matrix
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Risedronate is used in men and women for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis. A drug holiday of up to 1 year after 7 years of therapy has been suggested (42).
Haq et al., "Utilization of preventive measures for glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis among veterans with inflammatory bowel disease," ISRN Gastroenterology, vol.
A review of recent evidence focusing on glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis and osteoporosis associated with rheumatoid arthritis," Clinical Calcium, vol.
Devogelaer, "Glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis: mechanisms and therapeutic approach," Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America, vol.
Secondary amenorrhea was more prevalent among PR Latinas, while glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis and kyphoplasty/ vertebroplasty were more prevalent in US Latinas.
Alendronate sodium has also been subsequently approved for treatment of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis, male osteoporosis, and in the elderly.
The bisphosphonates (BPs) are universally regarded as a first-line treatment for osteoporosis in postmenopausal and elderly women, in men, and in a number of secondary osteoporoses, including glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis.
Guide for the prevention and treatment of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis of the Spanish Society of Internal Medicine.
They cover the epidemiology and genetics of postmenopausal osteoporosis, osteoporosis in men, the mechanisms of bone remodeling, fracture risk assessment, bone diseases and medications as secondary causes of osteoporosis, glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis, and treatment using hormone therapy, bisphosphonates, denosumab, parathyroid hormone, calcium and vitamin D, combination therapy, and emerging therapies, as well as monitoring therapy, persistence and compliance with medications to prevent fractures, and the approach to the patient.
Sartori, "Organ transplantation and glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis," in Glucocorticoid Induced Osteoporosis, A.

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