Aloia, John F. Osteoporosis Diagnosis, Treatment, and Research Center, Department of Medicine, Winthrop-University Hospital, Mineola, New York.
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A metabolic bone disease in which the amount of bone tissue is reduced sufficiently to increase the likelihood of fracture. Osteoporosis involves deossification (the loss or removal of the mineral constituents of bone) with an absolute decrease in bone tissue (Fig. 1), including enlargement of marrow and Haversian spaces (which surround the nerves, blood vessels, and lymphatic structures of bone), decreased thickness of cortical bone (the dense, compact, outer surface of bone) and trabecular bone (the porous, inner layer of bone), and structural weakness. Individuals suffering from osteoporosis are subject to bone fractures. Fractures of the vertebrae, femur (thigh bone), and wrist are the most common osteoporotic fractures, but other bones, including the ribs, upper arm, and pelvis, may fracture as well. Although low bone mass is the major factor in osteoporotic fractures, there also may be qualitative and architectural changes in bone with aging that lead to increased fragility. See also: Aging; Bone; Bone disorders; Metabolic disorders
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