Young People Get Osteoporosis Too 

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Osteoporosis Related Terms

alendronate: A medication that slows bone loss; from a class of drugs known as bisphosphonates. As Fosamax, it has FDA approval for treating and preventing osteoporosis in women. It is also approved for treatment in men.

bisphosphonates: A class of compounds, including alendronate and risedronate, that slow bone resorption

bone:  organs composed of hard living tissue providing structural support to the body and made mostly of collagen and calcium

bone density:  The amount of calcium and minerals in the bone tissue

bone mass:  The total amount of bone tissue in the skeleton.

bone mineral density (BMD) test:  a test used to diagnose osteoporosis. It detects bone loss even in its early stages. The test can also be used to determine if a person is at risk for fractures and can be used to monitor increases in bone density as a result of treatment.

calcitonin:  A naturally occurring hormone secreted by the thyroid gland known to increase bone density. It can also help relieve pain associated with fractures. It is available in two forms: injection or nasal spray.

calcium: A mineral that is the primary component of hydroxyapatite. It is also vital to many physical processes, including heart rate, blood pressure, muscle contractions, the transmission of nerve signals, and the regulation of internal organs.

cancellous bone:  also called trabecular bone; an inner spongy structure that resembles a honeycomb. The inner bone cavities contain bone marrow where red blood cells are produced.

cartilage:  stretchy tissue that, as the body grows, develops into bone. Remaining cartilage helps keep bones flexible.

compact bone:  Very dense bone tissue that forms the outer shell of bones and composes a large part of the long bones of the arms, legs, and ribs. It is also called cortical bone or lamellar bone.

compression fracture:  an injury to the spine in which one or more vertebrae collapse. If the collapse is only in the front part of the spine, it becomes wedge shaped and is called a compression fracture or wedge fracture. However, if the vertebral body is crushed in all directions it is called a burst fracture.

cortical bone:  The outer layer of bone. Hard bone - the dense outer covering of bone; also known as compact cortical bone.

dorsal kyphosis:  An abnormal front-to-back curvature of the mid-to-upper spine. It can result from compression fractures of vertebrae and is commonly called dowager's hump.

dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA):  A test in which x-rays are used to measure bone density and produce an image of the bone; the preferred means of osteoporosis testing.

estrogen-replacement therapy (ERT):  Replacement of a woman's declining hormones with estrogen alone; a measure to reduce osteoporosis risk in women who have had hysterectomies.

fluoride:  Sodium fluoride is a compound that can increase bone density and is under study for treating osteoporosis.

glucocorticoid:  A class of hormones produced by the adrenal gland and simulated by pharmaceutical preparations such as prednisone.

growth factors: 
Substances produced by the body that stimulate tissue growth; some growth factors are under investigation for use in preventing and treating osteoporosis.

hormone-replacement therapy (HRT): Augments a woman's depleted hormones with estrogen alone or a combination of estrogen and progestin or progesterone; a measure to reduce osteoporosis risk in postmenopausal women.

hydroxyapatite: The mature, hard, somewhat crystalline mineral compounds in bone tissue.

A condition in which the body produces excessive amounts of parathyroid hormone (PTH), disrupting the regulation of calcium. As a result, calcium is taken from the bones; blood levels of calcium rise; and increased amounts of calcium may be excreted in urine.

kyphoplasty: A minimally invasive procedure to alleviate pain from vertebral compression fractures. An orthopedic balloon is placed in the affected vertebra and inflated; the resulting cavity is filled with bone cement in order to stabilize the vertebral fracture.

kyphotic curve:  commonly called "humpback." A telltale sign of advanced osteoporosis and the result of the collapse of vertebrae in the thoracic spine. A severe kyphotic curve can cause pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness.

ossification:  the process of cartilage changing into hard bone.

osteoblast:  a type of cell that form bone.

osteoclast:  a type of cell that break down bone.

osteocyte:  a cell within regions of adult bone involved in the maintenance of bone.

osteomalacia:  also known as "adult rickets." A condition in which bones become soft as a result of a Vitamin D deficiency.

osteopenia:  a condition in which there is a decrease in bone density but not necessarily an increase in the risk or incidence of fracture.

osteoporosis:  a condition in which there is a decrease in bone mass and bone density and an increased risk and/or incidence of fracture. Peak bone mass - the maximum amount of bone a person can achieve during skeletal growth.

osteoprotegerin (OPG): a protein found naturally in the body that reduces the production of osteoclasts. It is under investigation as a potential osteoporosis treatment.

parathyroid hormone (PTH): A hormone that prevents the level of blood calcium from going too low and can stimulate the breakdown of bone. When given intermittently, it can increase bone mass.

peak bone mass: The greatest amount of bone tissue that a person has during his or her life; typically reached by age 30.

periosteum:  a fibrous membrane that covers the outside of bone.

phytoestrogens: plant compounds that have estrogen-like effects. They are being studied as a treatment for osteoporosis.

postmenopausal osteoporosis: bone loss resulting from the deficiency of estrogen associated with menopause; also known as Type 1 osteoporosis.

progestin: a synthetic progesterone.

progesterone: a natural hormone. It (or its synthetic cousin, progestin) is often added to estrogen treatments to reduce the woman's risk for endometrial cancer.

primary osteoporosis: bone loss that doesn't result from an identifiable pathological process.

raloxifene: a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) that slows bone loss. Under the brand name Evista, it has been approved by the FDA for use in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.

a medication that slows bone loss; from a class of drugs known as bisphosphonates. The FDA has approved the brand-name drug, Actonel, for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.

the body's mechanism for systematically removing old bone tissue and replacing it with new bone to preserve the strength of the skeleton.

resorption: the removal of bone tissue -- both protein and mineral salts -- by osteoclasts.

selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs): medications that are designed to deliver the benefits of estrogen without its negative side effects. SERMs include raloxifene and tamoxifen.

secondary osteoporosis: bone loss associated with an identifiable medical condition, treatment with certain drugs, or immobility.

statins: medications that are commonly used to reduce cholesterol levels; they have recently been shown to reduce the risk of fractures. They are under investigation for use in treating osteoporosis.

Skeletal system:  the rigid framework of bones in the body that supports soft tissues and protects internal organs.

Spinal column:  also called the vertebral column; extends from the skull to the pelvis and is made up of 33 individual bones called vertebrae. The spinal column is divided into four regions: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral.

trabecular bone: bone tissue arranged in a meshwork of thin plates or beams that is commonly found at the center of long bones and that composes a large part of the hip and vertebrae; also called cancellous bone or spongy bone.

type 1 osteoporosis: primary osteoporosis in which bone loss is due to the estrogen decline associated with menopause.

type 2 osteoporosis: primary osteoporosis in which bone loss is due to aging.

Vertebrae:  Any one of the 33 bony segments of the spinal column.

Vertebroplasty:  A new procedure used to treat compression fractures that utilizes orthopedic cement, which is injected into the space between the vertebrae. The cement hardens and returns the vertebral space to its original height.

vitamin D: A hormone that plays a key role in ensuring the absorption of calcium from the intestines.


Young People Get Osteoporosis Too Organization
Copyright 2001  All rights reserved.
Revised: 03/11/08.