Osteoporosis: Glossary

Here are definitions of medical terms related to osteoporosis.

Bone mineral density (BMD) test: A low-dose X-ray examination of the bones, used to assess bone health

Calcitonin: A hormone that may decrease the rate of bone removal; sometimes used in the treatment of osteoporosis

Calcium: A chemical element important for bone formation

Compression fracture of spine: A fracture in one of the spinal vertebral bodies; when this happens, the usual rectangular shape of the bone becomes compressed and distorted

Density of bone: The amount of mass present in a certain area of bone; density usually refers to the quantity of something per unit of volume

Dowager’s hump: A term to describe the upper-back protrusion that is commonly seen in older women

Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptionmetry (DEXA): A method that uses low dose X-rays for testing bone density

Estrogen: One of the female sex hormones, produced by the ovary and important in bone formation in women

Fluoride: A chemical element that is sometimes used to treat or prevent osteoporosis

Fracture: A break in a bone

Hysterectomy: Removal of the uterus (womb) by surgery

Menopause: The time in which the end of menstruation occurs in women, most commonly from age 45 to 55, when estrogen production by the ovaries decreases or stops

Osteoporosis: A bone disease in which the density of the bone is decreased because of a decrease in the amount of bone tissue present

Ovary: One of the female reproductive organs; it produces ovum (eggs) and the female sex hormones

Pelvis: The bones formed by the ring of bones that support the spine

Phosphorus: A mineral the body needs for bone and tooth formation, energy production, and other purposes

Progesterone: One of the female sex hormones; it helps regulate the menstrual cycle

Risk factors: In osteoporosis, it is any of the conditions that increase your chances of developing osteoporosis

Uterus: The female organ in which the fetus develops; also called the womb

Vertebra: One of the single bones of the spinal column

Vitamin D: One of several nutrients needed by the body for the use of calcium in bone formation

Weight-bearing exercise: Activity such as walking, running, or climbing, which brings the weight of the body to bear on the skeleton; such exercise helps fortify the bones

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