What Is Secondary Osteoporosis and How Is It Diagnosed?

A review of

Secondary Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Diseases

You have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, but do you know if it is primary or secondary osteoporosis? What's the difference, anyway?

Primary osteoporosis is osteoporosis caused by age or estrogen deficiencies during menopause.

Secondary osteoporosis, on the other hand, is osteoporosis that is caused by anything other than age or estrogen deficiencies during menopause. This includes a number of medical conditions, such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease, thyroid and parathyroid disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, nutritional deficiencies, or specific medications.

A recent review from the Journal of Clinical Medicine investigated secondary osteoporosis and its causes. As discussed in the article, diabetes is the most common cause of secondary osteoporosis. Why? Diabetes affects the health and quality of bone because of its effect on cell and bone metabolism. Researchers recommend using several types of quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) to help detect bone quality in people with diabetes.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is another cause of secondary osteoporosis. The kidneys, in general, affect bone health because they filter and control minerals, electrolytes, acid-base, and vitamin D levels in the body. As the article cites, advanced CKD patients have an 8-fold higher risk of fracture than the general population. Smoking cessation, limiting alcohol consumption, eating a well balanced diet, and personalized exercise programs are all also cited as having a positive impact on bone health for CDK patients.

The Causes of Secondary Osteoporosis. Adapted from Sobh et al.
Other mentioned diseases that can affect bone health included:
  • Celiac disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Parathyroid and thyroid disorders
  • Rheumatological-immunological diseases (Inflammatory Arthritis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Multiple Sclerosis)

Thankfully, a healthy lifestyle--including eating healthy food and exercising--is known to improve general health and bone health.

Check out the complete study for more details:
Secondary Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Diseases
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