The cause of osteoporosis is a quantitative regression (decrease in bone density) and qualitative (deterioration of the micro-architecture of the bone) which leads to increased fragility of the skeleton. With age, the bone cells renew themselves less well and the bones become more porous, more fragile. Osteoporosis is when bone density (measured by densitometry) falls below a certain threshold. Frequently, this disease affects about 1 in 3 menopausal women, but is under-diagnosed and therefore under-treated.
For both sexes, bone loss begins around the age of 30. It is slow and steady (0.5% per year). In women, stopping estrogen at menopause is involved, and accelerates this loss of bone density. The reduction of estrogen is a factor favoring the appearance of osteoporosis. Menopausal women are therefore prone to this disease especially if menopause is early.
It is especially important the first 2 or 3 years, then a little less, fortunately, during the next 5 to 10 years.
Overall, the 10 years following the menopause are thus potentially "at risk" because the bone capital can be started from 10 to 35% according to the women. For many, the critical threshold (that is to say a too low density) is crossed at that moment, without anything being seen or feeling.
Here are some health problems (or treatments) considered as risk factors for osteoporosis:
- Fractures or vertebral compression in his parents;
- Prolonged or repeated treatments with corticosteroids;
- Periods of amenorrhea and / or anorexia;
- Hyperthyroidism or taking thyroid extracts (medicine);
- Periods of prolonged bed rest;
- Leanness with a BMI (Body Mass Index) less than 19;
- Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, strict diets low in calcium