Osteoporosis International

, Volume 4, Supplement 1, pp S47-S51

First online:

Postmenopausal bone loss and the risk of osteoporosis

  • C. ChristiansenAffiliated withCenter for Clinical and Basic Research

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The two most important risk factors for long-term skeletal health are the peak bone mass and the subsequent rate of bone loss. The rate of bone loss after skeletal maturity is determined by both genetic factors and environmental factors. Furthermore, all factors that impair estrogen production will increase bone loss. The present risk of developing osteoporosis and fractures may be assessed by bone mass measurements in the total skeleton, or in local parts of the skeleton such as the spine, hip and forearm, by single-photon/X-ray absorptiometry (SPA or SXA), dual-photon/energy X-ray absorptiometry (DPA or DXA), or quantitative computed tomography (QCT). Furthermore, the rate of bone loss in postmenopausal women may be assessed by means of a number of biochemical markers. The fútúre risk of developing osteoporosis may thus be determined by combining the values for bone mineral content and bone loss.


Biochemical markers Bone loss Future risk Present risk Techniques of bone mass measurements