Types of Osteoporosis: Primary or Secondary

osteoporosisMany physicians classify osteoporosis as Primary (Type I) or Secondary (Type II).

Primary Osteoporosis is associated with the process of normal aging. Estrogen and progesterone are two hormones that play important roles in regulating the rate at which bone is lost. Estrogen controls the osteoclasts (breaks bone down) and progesterone influences osteoblasts to make new bone. Other hormones are important too.

Secondary Osteoporosis can be caused by certain medical conditions and medications that can disrupt bone reformation.

Medical Conditions Medications


Antacids containing aluminum

Cushing’s Syndrome



Steroid (Cortisone) Therapy



Liver Disease


Intestinal Malabsorption


Marfan’s Syndrome



Thyroid hormone

Symptoms and Complications
Osteoporosis is an insidious disease. Some patients discover the disorder exists after sustaining a fracture. Vertebral fractures (e.g. compression, wedge, burst) are painful and can take several months until pain subsides. In severe osteoporosis, vertebrae become so fragile they can collapse upon themselves without trauma. As vertebral bodies collapse the loss of vertebral height actually causes the patient to shrink.

Physical deformity can occur such as a hump back (kyphosis). This results from vertebral collapse in the thoracic spine. Kyphosis can cause severe pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness.

As the structural integrity of the vertebrae is compromised upper body height can be lost allowing the ribs to drop downward to the hips. This may compress the internal organs and causes the abdomen to protrude. Breathing can be impaired due to restricted lung expansion.

The symptoms of osteoporosis can devastate a patient’s quality of life. Deformity often causes loss of self-esteem, disability, and may force the patient to give up activities that previously brought enjoyment. Even finding stylish clothing to fit properly can be difficult.

Updated on: 07/28/15
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Osteoporosis: Detection and Diagnosis
This article explains in a clear and easily understood fashion the basic physiology of osteoporosis, risk factors, causes of osteoporosis, and reviews current treatment options with an appropriate emphasis upon prevention. This article will provide a general resource for patients seeking a clear explanation of this disease process.
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Osteoporosis: Detection and Diagnosis

A Bone Mineral Density test is often used to help diagnose osteoporosis and determine the risk for future fracture.
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