What are the different types of osteoporosis?

What are the different types of osteoporosis?

What are the different types of osteoporosis?

There are four different types of osteoporosis, these are described below:

Primary osteoporosis

This is the most common type of osteoporosis and occurs more in women than men. Primary osteoporosis is usually caused by age-related factors, and may be referred to as senile osteoporosis, or when the cause is unknown, idiopathic osteoporosis.

Peak bone density (mass) is reached between the ages of 25 and 30. As one ages, bone loss slowly begins to increase. With increased bone loss, the rate of bone generation will also decrease. The chances of developing osteoporosis depend on the density of one’s bones earlier in life. Diet, health and physical exercise will also determine bone density (to a degree) throughout life.

Accelerated loss of bone density will usually begin after a women’s monthly menstrual cycle comes to an end (i.e. during menopause) which occurs when the production of oestrogen begins to slow down (this is usually around the age of 45 to 55).

In men, gradual bone loss will normally begin between the ages of 45 and 50, this is when testosterone production begins to slow.

Osteoporosis usually only impacts people when they are over the age of 60.

Secondary osteoporosis

This type of osteoporosis has similar symptoms to those commonly seen in primary osteoporosis, however, secondary osteoporosis occurs as a result of certain medical conditions such as leukaemia, hyperthyroidism or hyperparathyroidism.

This type of osteoporosis may also result from taking certain medications that lead to the breakdown of bones, these include high-dose inhaled or oral corticosteroids that have been used for longer than six months. Other medications include high doses of thyroid hormone replacements or drugs known as aromatase inhibitors which are used in the treatment of breast cancer.

Secondary osteoporosis can affect anyone at any age.

Osteogenesis imperfecta

This is an extremely rare type of osteoporosis that causes the bones to fracture with no logical reason as to why. Osteogenesis imperfecta is seen at birth.

Idiopathic juvenile osteoporosis

This type of osteoporosis is also very rare and affects children who are between eight and 14 years old (a time of rapid growth in a child’s life). Idiopathic juvenile osteoporosis, also known as IJO usually affects children with a history of being overweight before puberty3.

The cause of this form of the disease is not yet known and there is no cure. Idiopathic juvenile osteoporosis will increase a child’s risk of fractures and leads to the decreased bone formation and increased bone loss.




3. NIH. June 2015. Juvenile Osteoporosis. Available: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/bone/Bone_Health/Juvenile/juvenile_osteoporosis.asp [Accessed 05.09.2017]

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