On the basis of causative factors, osteoporosis can be divided into:


  • Primary Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is considered to be primary, when no specific cause for bone loss (such as diseases or drugs) can be identified. It has been further subdivided into:

o    Idiopathic osteoporosis: Relatively rare, this condition is seen in children below 14 years of age (juvenile type) and young adults (adult type). It can be diagnosed by excluding other causes of osteoporosis and through biopsy of bone.

o    Postmenopausal (type I) osteoporosis: This type of osteoporosis is very commonly seen in females, usually after about 10 years of menopause. This condition happens essentially due to deficiency of estrogen (female hormone) and may also occur earlier if there is estrogen deficiency due to any other cause (such as surgical removal of ovaries and uterus). It usually causes fracture of bones of spine (vertebrae) and lower forearm (distal radius).

o    Senile (type II) osteoporosis: It is common in older women and men usually after the age of  65-70 years and is a major cause of hip fractures in this age group.


  • Secondary Osteoporosis:  Osteoporosis is considered to be secondary when some specific cause for bone loss (such as diseases, medication, immobilisation) can be identified. Causes of secondary osteoporosis include:


o    Medication

                                      i.        Glucocorticoids

ii.        Heparin

iii.        Excessive intake of vitamin A

iv.        Excessive intake of vitamin D

o    Endocrine disorders

                                      i.        Cushing’s syndrome

ii.        Thyrotoxicosis

iii.        Hyperparathyroidism

iv.        Hypogonadism


  • Malignancy especially multiple myeloma


  • Prolonged immobilization


  • Genetic disorders

o    Marfan’s syndrome

o    Ehlers-Danlos syndrome

o    Osteogenesis imperfecta

o    Homocystinuria

  • Miscellaneous

o    Anorexia nervosa

o    Vitamin C deficiency (Scurvy)

o    Rheumatoid arthritis

o    Uncontrolled diabetes

o    Malnutrition

o    Alcoholism

o    Liver diseases