Table of Contents

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition that degrades the bones, causing them to turn brittle as a result of a loss of bone tissue and a low bone mass. Consequently, the person turns exceedingly susceptible to fractures. Such fractures are known as fragility fractures. Let’s learn more about osteoporosis condition with the help of a diagram.

Osteoporosis – Diagram

Osteoporosis literally means porous bones. It is associated with the loss of the bone matrix and the architectural deterioration of the bone tissue. The below diagram depicts the osteoporosis condition in bones.


Causes of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis can be caused due to a variety of reasons, such as:

  1. Low peak bone mass
  2. Low levels of testosterone and estrogen in men and women
  3. Imbalanced hormones
  4. Hyperthyroidism and other thyroid problems
  5. Kidney diseases, anorexia
  6. Surgical treatment on ovaries for its removal
  7. Low calcium diet
  8. Lack of Vitamin D

Symptoms of Osteoporosis

In the initial phases, people inflicted with osteoporosis show no visible signs or symptoms, but over time, the symptoms listed below begin to appear:

Height loss

Loss in height in normal circumstances is a part of growth. With ageing, the discs in the spinal cord contract and shrink, leading to a loss of height. But a person suffering from this disease can experience height loss all of a sudden.


Fractures are the most grievous facets of this disease. It can cause debilitating, chronic and acute pain. It can be challenging to associate fractures with this disease as it is asymptomatic. Fractures of the long bones, in some cases, impair mobility acutely and might require surgery.

Broken wrists

One of the first symptoms suggesting osteoporosis is a broken wrist. After menopause, women are more susceptible to wrist fractures. Typically, one shoots their arm to the front as part of a reflex action to stop its fall. Bones in a healthy state must be able to oppose a simple fall. However, a fracture indicates osteoporosis.

Broken hip

When a hip fractures, the top of the thigh bone is usually the site where the break can potentially happen. Furthermore, people in their late 70s or 80s are at a higher risk for this type of injury. It is observed more in fall-related injuries.

A broken hip can give excruciating pain. In most cases, it calls for an operation. Complications arising due to old age also affect recovery.

Types of Bone Tissues

Bones provide the body with support, protection and structure for internal organs. It consists of calcium and other minerals rendering rigidity and strength. They also comprise the bone marrow, which is the site for the synthesis of new blood cells.

Every bone comprises 2 types of bone tissues.

  • Cortical Bone – A thick outer shell or cover rendering a solid and smooth appearance to the bones.
  • Trabecular Bone – A strong mesh found within the shell

These types of bone tissues are usually assisted by the blood supply and nerves. Bone marrow and fat fill up all the spaces in between. There are a few bones towards the end of the long bones, those in the arms and legs. These have a great proportion of trabecular bone.

In people with osteoporosis condition, the cortical bone becomes thinner. The trabecular also becomes less dense. Around the age of 30-35, the loss of trabecular bone begins. Typically women lose much of trabecular bone than men.


This condition can be thought of as a precursor to Osteoporosis. Here, the bones are not as delicate as observed in the condition of osteoporosis, but they are frailer than the normal bones. It is distinguished by the body’s inability to build new tissues as rapidly as the old bone tissues are reabsorbed, making the bones weaker, which may potentially lead to osteoporosis.

It is typically observed in people above the age of 50. It can also be inherited among family members. Women are also prone to this ailment.

Further Reading

Difference between Bone and Cartilage Difference Between Enzymes and Hormones

To learn more about osteoporosis or other related conditions, please visit BYJU’S.


Frequently Asked Questions


What is the meaning of osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a pathophysiologic condition in which bone quantity is deficient, leading to brittle bones. It is a metabolic bone disorder that commonly occurs in women in their 50s and 60s and in men in their 70s. This predominantly occurs due to decreased bone formation and excessive bone resorption.


What are the factors that influence osteoporosis?

Low bone mass or loss of bone tissue is the main reason for osteoporosis. Many factors influence the development of osteoporosis in both males and females. This includes nutritional status, genetic predetermination, physical activity level, and estrogen levels in women.

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