Osteoporosis is a condition in which there is decreased quantity of bone, causing your bones to become weak and more likely to fracture or break.
The amount of bone increases during childhood and early adult life, reaching a maximum by the age of 30. Normally, the body forms enough new bone tissue to balance the amount of bone tissue that is broken down and absorbed by the body (a process called bone turnover). After menopause in women, and in some older men, there may be breakdown of bone leading to osteoporosis. In people with osteoporosis, this balanced process is lost - more bone is broken down than is formed, and bones become extremely weak.
Over time, bones become thinner and some of the supporting connections are lost. Bones weigh less and can handle less stress. They can, therefore, break or fracture much more easily, such as from a fall from a standing position to the ground. Fractures can occur at the hip, spine, wrist and other body sites. Because the bone is weak, these are known as fragility fractures.
According to the National Institutes of Health, osteoporosis is a major public health threat for more than 28 million Americans. Today 10 million people already have osteoporosis and 18 million more have osteopenia (reduced bone mass) and are at risk for developing osteoporosis. Women make up 80% of the cases of osteoporosis.
Paget’s Disease was initially diagnosed by Sir James Paget in 1877. Paget’s disease of bone, or osteitis deformans, is a disease of the osteoclast and is the most exaggerated example of disordered bone remodeling. It is a focal disorder of accelerated skeletal remodeling that can involve a single bone or multiple bones. Paget’s disease is characterized by excessive bone formation resulting in bone that is architecturally unsound. This can lead to bone pain, bone deformity and skeletal fragility.
A wealth of information regarding osteoporosis is available on the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) web site. The links below will open information about the chosen topic in a new browser window.
The following bilingual (English and Spanish) patient information handouts are part of the series, "Hormones and You," prepared by The Hormone Foundation, the public education affiliate of The Endocrine Society, which serves as a resource for the public by promoting the prevention, treatment, and cure of hormone-related conditions.