What is osteoporosis?

Updated: Jan 20, 2021
  • Author: Rachel Elizabeth Whitaker Elam, MD, MSc; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

Osteoporosis, in which low bone mass and micro-structural deterioration of bone tissue lead to increased bone fragility, is the most common metabolic bone disease in the United States. [1, 2] Osteoporosis can result in devastating physical, psychosocial, and economic consequences. Still, it is often overlooked and undertreated, in large part because it is clinically silent; there are no symptoms before a fracture occurs. (See the image below.)

Osteoporosis of the spine. Observe the considerable reduction in overall vertebral bone density and note the lateral wedge fracture of L2.

Osteoporosis of the spine. Observe the considerabl Osteoporosis of the spine. Observe the considerable reduction in overall vertebral bone density and note the lateral wedge fracture of L2.

See Menopause: Changes and Challenges, a Critical Images slideshow, to help identify comorbidities and diseases in the postmenopausal population.


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