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There are four types of
osteoporosis: primary, secondary,
osteogenesis imperfecta, and idiopathic
Primary osteoporosis is the
most common type of osteoporosis. It is more common in women than men. A person
reaches peak bone mass (density) at about age 30. After that, the rate of bone
loss slowly increases, while the rate of bone building decreases. Whether a
person develops osteoporosis depends on the thickness of the bones in early
life as well as health, diet, and physical activity at all ages.
In women, accelerated bone loss usually begins after monthly menstrual
periods stop. This happens when a woman's production of estrogen slows down (usually between
the ages of 45 and 55). In men, gradual bone thinning typically starts at about
45 to 50 years of age, when a man's production of testosterone slows down.
Osteoporosis usually does not have an effect on people until they are 60 or
older. Women are usually affected at an earlier age than men, because they start
out with lower bone mass.
Secondary osteoporosis has
the same symptoms as primary osteoporosis. But it occurs as a result of having
certain medical conditions, such as
leukemia. It may also occur as a result of taking
medicines known to cause bone breakdown, such as oral or high-dose inhaled
corticosteroids (if used for more than 6 months), too high a dose of thyroid
replacement, or aromatase inhibitors (used to treat breast cancer). Secondary
osteoporosis can occur at any age.
Osteogenesis imperfecta is a
rare form of osteoporosis that is present at birth. Osteogenesis imperfecta
causes bones to break for no apparent reason.
juvenile osteoporosis is rare. It occurs in children between the ages of 8 and
14 or during times of rapid growth. There is no known cause for this type of
osteoporosis, in which there is too little bone formation or excessive bone
loss. This condition increases the risk of fractures.
November 6, 2012
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Carla J. Herman, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
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