In osteoporosis, bones lose calcium and phosphate salts and become abnormally vulnerable to fracture. Osteoporosis may be primary or secondary to an underlying disease.
What causes it:
The cause of primary osteoporosis remains unknown. Secondary osteoporosis may result from:
• Prolonged therapy with steroids, aluminum-containing antacids, heparin, anticonvulsants, or thyroid preparations
• Total immobility or disuse of a bone (as with hemiplegia). Osteoporosis is also linked to alcohol abuse, malnutrition, malabsorption, scurvy, lactose intolerance, hyperthyroidism, osteogenesis imperfecta, and Sudeck’s atrophy (localized to hands and feet, with recurring attacks)
Other signs and symptoms include:
• Pain in the lower back that radiates around the trunk
• Kyphosis (humpback)
• Loss of height
• A markedly aged appearance.
Risk factors include inadequate intake or absorption of calcium, estrogen deficiency, and sedentary lifestyle.