Osteoporosis (literally “porous bone”) is a skeletal disorder characterized by decreased bone strength due to loss of bone mass/density, resulting in an increased risk of fractures (breaks). It is most common in older people, particularly women. However, it occasionally occurs in children, usually caused by some other disease condition (“secondary osteoporosis”) or by medications taken to treat another condition.
Secondary osteoporosis can accompany other primary disorders such as juvenile idiopathic arthritis (also called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis), diabetes, hyperthyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, malabsorption syndromes, anorexia nervosa and kidney disease.
It can also result from treatment with certain medication including anticonvulsants, corticosteroids and immunosuppressants.
The first symptom of osteoporosis is usually a bone fracture.