Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Multifactorial metabolic bone disorder, a degenerative condition in which there is abnormal los of bone mass (but not size); results from an imbalance between factors that destroy and resorb old bone (osteoclasts) and those that deposit new bone in its place (osteoblasts); inappropriate bone resorption. Bones affected by this disease become porous, brittle, and vulnerable to fracture. Primary osteoporosis is more apparent in females after menopause (aka senile osteoporosis, postmenopausal osteoporosis), although osteoporosis may be secondary to an underlying disease. Some forms of osteoporosis have a genetic component due to defects in collagen; the autosomal location of a susceptibility gene is on HSA 17p.

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From "Dictionary of Nursing and Individual Health Care"