How does bone loss occur?

David Slovik, MD
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
Bone loss occurs when the cells that form bone (osteoblasts) cannot keep pace with the cells that are eating away at bone (osteoclasts). If you were to view a microscopic movie taken over time, you would see the osteoclasts going about business as usual, while the osteoblasts' efforts fall short. Although the trenches dug by the osteoclasts aren't getting any deeper, neither are they being refilled completely. As trenches accumulate, the bone becomes thinner, more porous, and weaker than it once was.
There are no symptoms associated with such bone loss. But if it continues indefinitely, bones will eventually become too weak to bear the load they were designed to carry. The result is usually a fracture of the wrist, hip, or spine.

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