What are the types of primary osteoporosis?

Updated: Jan 20, 2021
  • Author: Rachel Elizabeth Whitaker Elam, MD, MSc; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Primary osteoporosis is the most common form of osteoporosis. It is divided into juvenile and idiopathic osteoporosis; idiopathic osteoporosis can be further subdivided into postmenopausal (type I) and age-associated or senile (type II) osteoporosis. Postmenopausal osteoporosis is primarily due to estrogen deficiency. Senile osteoporosis is primarily due to an aging skeleton and calcium deficiency. SeeTable 2, below.

Table 2. Types of Primary Osteoporosis (Open Table in a new window)

Type of Primary Osteoporosis


Juvenile osteoporosis

  • Usually occurs in children or young adults of both sexes

  • Normal gonadal function

  • Age of onset: usually 8-14 years

  • Hallmark characteristic: abrupt bone pain and/or a fracture following trauma

Idiopathic osteoporosis

  • Postmenopausal osteoporosis (type I osteoporosis)

  • Occurs in women with estrogen deficiency

  • Characterized by a phase of accelerated bone loss, primarily from trabecular bone

  • Fractures of the distal forearm and vertebral bodies common

  • Age-associated or senile osteoporosis (type II osteoporosis)

  • Occurs in women and men as BMD gradually declines with aging

  • Represents bone loss associated with aging

  • Fractures occur in cortical and trabecular bone

  • Wrist, vertebral, and hip fractures often seen 

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