osteoporosis – What happens

Our bone remodels (i.e. formation and resorption) continuously at sites known as bone remodeling units. At these sites formation and resorption (shedding) of bones is accomplished by osteoblasts and osteoclasts, respectively. This process of bone remodeling is controlled by hormonal and other factors. Initially, the rate of bone formation exceeds the bone loss and bone mass continues to increase till the age of 30-35 years when it reaches to its maximum (peak bone mass). The peak bone mass thus attained remains stable for sometime and thereafter, the bone loss surpasses bone formation gradually (usually after 40-50 years of age).

The normal balance between bone formation and bone loss maintains the bone mass. Whenever there is increased resorption (shedding) and/or decreased formation of bone, osteoporosis may result. Therefore, peak bone mass which one attains during first three decades of life becomes very important in determining the future risk of developing osteoporosis, and its severity.