Osteoporosis Home > Types of Osteoporosis

There are two types of osteoporosis: primary and secondary. Primary osteoporosis is usually related to aging or an unknown cause. Secondary osteoporosis can be caused by a variety of factors, including alcohol abuse, smoking, certain diseases, or certain medications. Both types of osteoporosis are treatable and can occur in both men and women.

Types of Osteoporosis: An Introduction

There are two main types of osteoporosis: primary and secondary.

Types of Osteoporosis: Primary

In cases of primary osteoporosis, either the condition is caused by age-related bone loss (sometimes called senile osteoporosis), or the cause may be unknown (called idiopathic osteoporosis). The term idiopathic osteoporosis is used only for people who are under the age of 70; in older people, age-related bone loss is assumed to be the cause.

Types of Osteoporosis: Secondary

In cases of secondary osteoporosis, the loss of bone mass is caused by certain lifestyle factors, diseases, or medications. The majority of people with osteoporosis have at least one secondary cause.
The most common causes of secondary osteoporosis include:
  • Exposure to glucocorticoid medications
  • Hypogonadism (low levels of testosterone)
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Smoking
  • Gastrointestinal disease
  • Hypercalciuria (high levels of calcium in the urine)
  • Immobilization.

Other Causes of Secondary Osteoporosis

Additional causes of secondary osteoporosis include:
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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