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    Osteoporosis Glossary

    Bone: Bone forms the skeleton of the body and is made chiefly of calcium phosphate and calcium carbonate. It also serves as a storage area for calcium.

    Bone Density or Bone Mineral Density: An indirect measurement of the amount of calcium and other minerals in bones. This measurement detects osteopenia (bone loss usually without symptoms) and osteoporosis (more severe bone loss that may cause fractures).

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    Your bones are alive and constantly growing -- not static, like you see them drawn in books. Bones continually change throughout your life, with some bone cells dissolving and new bone cells growing back in a process called remodeling. With this lifelong turnover of bone cells, you replace most of your skeleton every 10 years. But for people with osteoporosis -- a thinning of the bones -- bone loss outpaces the growth of new bone. Bones become porous, brittle, and prone to fracture. Look at an...

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    Calcium: A mineral found mainly in the hard part of bones. Calcium is essential for healthy bones and important for muscle contraction, heart action, nervous system maintenance, and normal blood clotting.

    DXA: Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. It is used to measure bone mineral density.

    Estrogen : Estrogen is a female hormone produced by the ovaries. Estrogen deficiency can lead to osteoporosis.

    Fracture: A break in bone. Although usually the result of trauma, a fracture can be caused without significant trauma in bones that are weakened.

    Hip Fracture: Broken bone in the hip, a key health problem among the elderly, usually due to a fall or other kind of trauma involving direct impact to the hip joint, especially if osteoporosis is present.

    Hyperparathyroidism: Too much parathyroid hormone resulting in abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood. This can cause bone resorption and osteoporosis, calcium deposits in the kidneys, and other health problems.

    Osteopenia : Mild thinning of the bone mass, but not as severe as osteoporosis. Osteopenia is generally considered the first step on the road to osteoporosis.

    Osteoporosis: Thinning of the bones with reduction in bone mass due to depletion of calcium and bone protein. Osteoporosis can lead to posture changes, deformity, and fractures, with resulting decreased mobility.

    Postmenopausal: After menopause. The time after which a woman has experienced twelve (12) consecutive months without a period.

    Vitamin D : A steroid vitamin that promotes the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorus. Sunlight promotes vitamin D synthesis in the skin. Vitamin D is also present in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna, and in fortified foods.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on April 16, 2015

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