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Osteoporosis: Description, Its Effect on Homeostasis


Osteoporosis refers to the reduction in bone mineral density (BMD). (Misner 1) The condition develops gradually and results in weakened bones that can fracture easily (Sugimoto, pars. 1-3). The condition is more common in the elderly and women are five times more at risk of developing the condition as compared to men. This paper seeks to describe the disease and how it affects homeostasis and then identify and summarize a study related to the disease.

Osteoporosis and how it disrupts Homeostasis

As stated earlier, osteoporosis refers to weakened bones that have a decreased bone mineral density (BMD). The WHO “defines osteoporosis as a bone mineral density that is 2.5 standard deviations or more below the mean peak bone mass as measured by DXA; the terms established osteoporosis include the presence of fragility fracture” (Sugimoto, par. 3). The disease can be subdivided into three; primary type 1, primary type2 and secondary osteoporosis (Deng and Vaccaro 4).

The chances of developing osteoporosis increase with age and are most likely to occur in females after menopause. This type of osteoporosis that develops after menopause is referred to as the primary type 1 or postmenopausal osteoporosis (Boyd 7). The primary type is also referred to as senile osteoporosis and occurs in individuals who are seventy-five years and above. The chances of developing senile osteoporosis are found to be higher in women than. Current statistics indicate that women are twice likely to develop senile osteoporosis as men (Misner 6). Secondary osteoporosis can occur at any given age and both males and females have equal chances of developing the condition.

The condition often results following a long period of using certain medications and the presence of presence of risk factors (Deng and Vaccaro 13). The development of secondary osteoporosis depends on other chronic conditions and the use of medications such as glucocorticoids (Sugimoto 1, pars. 1-3).

Osteoporosis has no particular symptoms only that it increases the chances of bone fractures (Misner 2). The disease is more commonly diagnosed by the presence of a fracture. The risk factors of developing osteoporosis are varied depending on the type. The most usual risk factors are “old age in both men and women; estrogen deficiency in women; decrease in testosterone levels in men” (Boyd 4). People of European and Asian descent are more likely to develop the disease of all types of osteoporosis.

An individual’s lifestyle can also increase the chances of developing osteoporosis. For instance, “excessive alcohol consumption, Vitamin D deficiency, tobacco smoking, inactivity and consumption of caffeine can significantly” increase the chances of developing osteoporosis (Deng and Vaccaro 4, par 4). Osteoporosis is usually controlled using anticonvulsants and steroids (Misner 3).

Osteoporosis usually affects Calcium homeostasis. The inability of the bones to absorb calcium causes a significant disruption in the calcium metabolic cycle. Calcium is often maintained by Vitamin D and the parathyroid gland (PTH) (Sugimoto 3). PTH is the main regulator of calcium in the body and carries out the following functions: “It stimulates the release of Calcium ions from the bone; it decreases urinary loss of calcium and; it indirectly stimulates calcium absorption in the small intestine by stimulating synthesis of the active form of vitamin D” (Sugimoto 4, par. 5).

When the level of calcium goes down in the body compensation is derived from the bones in a process referred to as born resorption. Bone resorption is triggered by PTH and begins by assemblage of osteoclast cells of the bone (Sugimoto 8). The cells undergo a series of events that ends in the release of calcium to the extracellular fluid (Boyd 8). Patients suffering from osteoporosis have a reduced bone mineral density that is attributed to insufficient calcium supply. Thus their bones are not able to compensate for diminished levels of calcium in the extracellular space by the bone resorption process (Misner 5).

Summary of Research on Osteoporosis: Prevalence of Osteoporosis and incidence of hip fracture in women- secular trends over 30 years (Ahlborg, Rosengren and Jarvinen 1)

In a study carried out by Ahlborg et al. it has been identified that cases of osteoporosis-associated hip fractures are increasing among elderly women due to demographic changes in the society (2010). The study sought to find out whether the increase in the incidence of osteoporosis-associated hip fractures can be attributed to changes in lifestyle (Ahlborg, Rosengren and Jarvinen, par. 1).

The researchers used a densitometer to measure bone mineral density at the distal radius in women aged 50 years or above living in the same environment (Ahlborg, Rosengren and Jarvinen, par. 5 ). The figures were taken during three different periods of time: “1970-74 (n=106), 1987-93 (n=175) and in 1998-1999 (n=178)” (Ahlborg, Rosengren and Jarvinen, par. 12). The prevalence of osteoporosis as related to age was calculated in the three study periods. Furthermore, all incidences of hip fractures occurring in the study population among women of fifty years and over were recorded. Using the data, “the crude and the age adjusted annual incidence of hip fractures were calculated” (Ahlborg, Rosengren and Jarvinen, par. 13).

The study revealed that there were no considerable differences in the “age adjusted prevalence of osteoporosis” when the three sets of data for the three periods study periods were compared (Ahlborg, Rosengren and Jarvinen, par. 15). However, “the crude annual incidence (per 10,000 women) of hip fracture in the target population was seen to increase by 110% from 40% in 1967 to 84 in 2001” (Ahlborg, Rosengren and Jarvinen, par. 15).

In conclusion, “the researchers attributed the increase in the number of hip fractures in elderly women to demographic changes in the population than to a secular increase in the prevalence of osteoporosis” (Ahlborg, Rosengren and Jarvinen, par. 20).


This paper sought to describe osteoporosis and how it disrupts homeostasis; and identity and give a brief description of a study on the condition. It has been established that osteoporosis is a condition that is associated with weakened bones. It disrupts homeostasis by interfering with the calcium cycle and is more likely to affect women as revealed by the study.

Osteoporosis was selected for this paper because it is an emerging problem that requires urgent attention. It is regarded as a silent disease as it happens gradually over the years and thus escapes notice (Misner 1). The disease results in a generally weakened skeletal system that is prone to fractures. Individuals suffering from osteoporosis can sustain fractures from simple activities such as sneezing and bending to pick something (Boyd 5). The “general decrease in bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue results in unprecedented skeletal” fragility (Deng and Vaccaro 6). The commonly moved sets of bones that are found in the hip, wrist and spine are more susceptible to fractures (Misner 3).

Works cited

Ahlborg, Henrik, et al. “Prevalence of osteoporosis and incidence of hip fracture in women-secular trends over 30 years.” BioMed Central (2010): 11(48): 1471-2474. Web.

Boyd, Purcell. “Bisphosphonates and osteonecrosis of the jaw.” Medical Journal of Australia (2005): 182 (8): 417–18. Web.

Deng, Kim and Arthur Vaccaro. “Osteoporotic compression fractures of the spine; current options and considerations for treatment.” The spine journal : official journal of the North American Spine Society (2006): 6(5): 479-87. Web.

Misner, Scottie. Osteoporosis. Tucson: University of Arizona, 2010. Web.

Sugimoto, Yamaguchi. “Calcium homeostasis and osteoporosis in diabetes mellitus and the metabolic syndrome.” PubMed (2008): 18(7):904-11. Web.


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