It is easier to classify osteoporosis based on the underlying causes of osteoporosis. Primary osteoporosis results from changes in bone density that occur naturally with age. Secondary osteoporosis is a condition that occurs when a different condition causes osteoporosis.
The clinical diagnosis will help to determine if the condition is primary and secondary. Due to the differences in treatment for primary and secondary osteoporosis, you must know if your osteoporosis may be age-related or caused a different condition.
Primary Osteoporosis in Aging
Osteoporosis can be explained by changes in bone strength and bone mass that occur with age. Primary osteoporosis affects women who have experienced menopause. However, it can also affect people of advanced age.
Age-related changes in bone mass and bone structure may affect the soft interior bone (called cancellous, trabecular, or spongy bone) or the hard exterior bone (called cortex bone).
How does Primary Osteoporosis develop?
As we age, bone resorption (or bone loss) accelerates faster than it can be rebuilt (or bone formation), which results in a decrease in bone mass and loss of the integrity of the bone structure. As a result, bones become weaker and more vulnerable to fractures.
Women going through menopause experience a rapid decline in estrogen. More bone is being removed from the bones that are laid down when there is less estrogen. It is postmenopausal osteoporosis when the bone becomes thinner because of suddenly lower estrogen levels.
Secondary osteoporosis is a separate condition that can impact bone growth and decrease bone density. A medication or health condition can directly or indirectly influence bone metabolism, lower bone density, and increase the risk of developing osteoporosis later on.
These health conditions can lead to secondary osteoporosis:
Endocrine disorders are conditions that affect the glands that regulate hormones in the body. Hormones can cause low bone density. Too much or too little hormone release is a risk because hormones play a crucial role in bone growth. These disorders include diabetes and hyperthyroidism.
Malnutrition is caused by nutritional, gastrointestinal, and liver disorders when the body doesn’t absorb enough nutrients to support healthy bone growth. Anorexia nervosa and gastric bypass surgery are some examples. A lack of vitamin D (vitamin D deficiencies) is a major factor in secondary osteoporosis.
Marrow disorders are those that affect the bone-marrow center of the bones. These include multiple myeloma and chronic alcohol abuse, as well as lymphoma.
There are two types of collagen disorders: osteogenesis imperfecta (or Marfan syndrome).
Many autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid, multiple sclerosis, and ankylosing spondylitis, can cause decreased or abnormal bone growth and vitamin deficiency.
Idiopathic hypercalciuria is a condition in which the kidneys are unable to process calcium properly.
Long-term treatment with medications for these conditions can increase your risk of developing osteoporosis.
Many endocrine disorders are treatable by glucocorticoids. Secondary osteoporosis is most commonly caused by glucocorticoid abuse.
Thyroid hormone replacements, suppression medication, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants are medicines that support the central nervous system.
Antiretroviral therapy and calcineurin inhibitors are immune system medications.
Proton pump inhibitors can be used, which are also used to treat gastrointestinal disorders. Before you take any medication, it is important to consult your physician about the possible benefits and risks.
Rare Types Of Osteoporosis
Two other types of osteoporosis occur less often:
Osteogenesis imperfecta is a grouping of genetic disorders that affect the development of collagen in bones, which causes bones to break down more easily. This condition can have life-threatening consequences.
The milder types may also have a blue tint to the eyes and hearing loss.
Children can develop idiopathic juvenile osteoporosis during growth periods, usually between the ages of 8 and 14. Children with osteoporosis are often treated with specialized care.