OSTEOPOROSIS, the most common disorder of the skeletal system, occurring chiefly in elderly persons, means literally an increased porosity of bone. This is to say that it refers to a decrease in the hard portions of bone substance in favor of a relative increase in the soft portions. It is commonly recognized as the end-result of loss in mass of the bones, ordinarily without any change in their volume or external configuration until pressures from without bring about collapse of the structures weakened from within.
The diagnosis of osteoporosis is usually based on radiographic evidence of collapsed vertebrae, expanded intervertebral disks, and thinning of the cortex of the bones. Attention is frequently called to the condition by the pain and deformity incident to collapse of the vertebral bodies, or to pathological fractures in the spine; routine laboratory procedures give little information.
The pathogenesis of this disorder is a subject of