Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

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).

Recommended Related to Osteoporosis

The Truth About Vitamin D: What Kind of Vitamin D is Best?

What kind of vitamin D is best? The recommended form of vitamin D is vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol. This is the natural form of vitamin D that your body makes from sunlight. Supplements are made from the fat of lambs' wool. However, a clinical study reported in 2008 suggested that vitamin D2 works as well as vitamin D3. Many supplements contain vitamin D as vitamin D2 or calciferol. It's derived from irradiated fungus. Because this is not the form of vitamin D naturally made by your body, WebMD...

Read the The Truth About Vitamin D: What Kind of Vitamin D is Best? article > >

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
Next Article:

Osteoporosis Glossary

  • Bone Mineral Density - A measurement of the amount of calcium and minerals in bone tissue.
  • Calcium - A mineral in (and vital to) your bones. If your body lacks calcium, it takes it from bones.
  • DEXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) - a test used to measure bone mineral density.
  • Osteoporosis - A decrease in bone density, which increase the risk of fractures.
  • Vitamin D - A vitamin that helps your body absorb calcium.
  • View All Terms

How do you exercise for strong bones?